Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So You Bought Some Land...Prologue

I always get lots of questions from new renters and buyers about their land. So I am going to start posting a series of articles to help you get the most out of your SL home.

First, why get your own place? Owning your own place (or renting) in second life is an amazing thing. No where else on the internet can you actually call a place your own! You may own your own house in RL, but can you build your own house on it? Can you change the house every week? Such freedom in SL Most residents of SL do not own their own land, but personally I can't imagine not having a place to call my own. I got my first place just two or three weeks after rezzing. I had been making clothes (my first project here was as a clothes designer) and I was making a prim skirt in some sand box. A bunch of boys started harassing me, and I just lost it. I spent the next few days looking for rentals, then stumbled on an 8192 sq meter lot that was nicely priced. I took only 1024 sq meter for myself and rented the rest. The rental business was successful and I made enough to pay for my own parcel. Any of you that know me, know that I have continued to expand this business and now am a sim owner.

I was young, and most of my friends were young, and my house quickly became a hang out, love nest, work shop and refuge. I've moved to some bigger places since, but I actually still live in that same place! After setting it up with some nice sounds, I would often even log in at work, park my avatar in my hot tub and relax....aaaah. Not many people can work form a hot tub on their own tropical beach!

Sounds nice huh? Well, then your first choice is to buy or rent. Renting has two main advantages, 1) you can walk away from the land easily 2) many land lords will provide houses and other amenities. In the long term however, buying is usually cheaper and you usually have much more freedom. I'll focus the rest of this post on buying as that is the most committing.

If you have decided to buy you have lots of decisions to make. Main land or estate land? Mainland or Linden Land is owned by Linden Laboratories and you pay Tier (monthly usage fees) to them. Estate Land is Islands owned by Second Life residents, many of whom go on to sell it to other SL residents like you. You pay Tier to them. Estate Land is usually cheaper to buy, but tier may be a bit more.

For residential living I will always choose estate land with a GOOD sim owner. Mainland (or Linden Land) has no covenant. You can do anything you want to do. Sounds great! STOP! So can your neighbor, and he has a porn addiction and demonstrates it with large posters everywhere. He is very fond of his 20 story purple penis. The woman to our left thinks she is a scripter and seems to script primarily for lag. There is no covenant! Nothing you can do. Better is to look for estate land, that is well managed.

If you have decided on estate land, you should do your homework. CAREFULLY read the covenant. There are three common things to check. Make sure you can resell the land. Many sim owners "sell" you the land, but really you just pay for the privilege to rent. The price may be less than actually buying the land, but there are plenty of great rental properties out there where you don't have to pay anything but rent. Next, make sure the purchase price on the land is what it says. Many sim owners sell land for 1L but this is just to "reserve" the land. You have to pay the full price later to actually buy the land. Finally, check to if you are allowed to subdivide or join parcels. Many sim owners do not allow you to sell land subdivided. I think this is a good thing. You don't want to buy a nice 4096 sq meter plot then have your neighbor sell off his land in 16 sq meter parcels to people who will live in card board boxes! There may be other rules too, the sim may have building restrictions, a theme and so on. This is all up to your taste.

You should also scan the about land info, make sure it is all as you expect. Make sure you get the normal number of prims for instance.

Phew! Big decision! Everything checks out. You've found the parcel of your dreams, the sim owner has a good reputation, the view is amazing, the neighbors are nice. If you are like me, you even IMed the sim owner just to see if she would respond. You showed the land to your friends, they all like it. Well now its ready for the easy part. Right click on the ground ( or click on the land info on the top of your viewer), and click "buy land" on the general tab. DOH! You forgot to buy lindens. Buy your lindens, now...click on "buy land " again. Click the check boxes after reading what they are asking you...then hit OK. Suddenly, you are standing on your new home! But there is nothing there! The next few articles will discuss how to get the most of your new home.

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