Cheap Land in Texas
Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr., the father of the 1988 vice presidential candidate and senator from Texas, was worth almost $200 million when he died in 1989. Yet his parents were Danish immigrants and poor dirt farmers in South Dakota. So how did he accumulate so much wealth? Mainly by dealing in cheap land in Texas!
The family moved from South Dakota to Texas, and after WWII, Bentsen began to dabble in very inexpensive land. His first big purchase was 30,000 acres encompassing the Los Guages and Los Magueyes ranches. The owner was offering the ranches for sale for $7 per acre with no money down and payments over 25 years. For such a low price and great terms, the seller insisted on keeping the mineral rights, but that didn’t bother Bentsen at all.
As Bentsen drove into town to close the deal, the good old boys drinking beer on the porch of the bar offered their unsolicited advice: “That’s $3-per-acre land, and it will never be worth a penny more!”
When Bentsen finally paid off the note in 1955, the land was worth $150 per acre. By the time of his death in 1989, even the most remote sections without water were probably worth close to $500 per acre.
Bentsen expressed a very interesting philosophy and insight regarding large tracts of cheap rural land. He said he firmly believed that every section of land in Texas was destined to increase in value until it reaches the value of the already settled sections with the same advantages.
Remote rural land in Texas still offers excellent speculative opportunities today. If a person knows where to look and isn’t afraid of being venturesome, cheap land in Texas can lead to astonishing results in the future.
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