When you’re buying land, whether you’re enlisting help from a Realtor or not, it’s important to know what you need to do during the process. This will help ensure that things go smoothly. One of the first decisions you make may be to decide if you’re going to enlist the help of an agent or not. If you do use an agent, they can help with a lot of these details, even so it’s still a great idea to be prepared and know what’s going to be on the road ahead. Here’s a list of 9 things you need to look into before you buy that land.
- Know what you’re looking for – Why do you want to buy land? It is for hunting, recreation, development, timber, or do you plan to build your home there? What is your budget? Knowing what your plan is will help you in your search. For example, if you plan to live there, you’ll want access and proximity to public services. If you’re looking for timber, you’ll likely want a certain kind of timber.
- Take your time to look – When it comes to land listings, often times, you need to dig a little deeper. Not all land for sale is easy to find. Some property for sale isn’t even listed on the local MLS or websites. In these kind of circumstances, having a good land agent to work with is helpful. A lot of times, they will know of land that’s for sale that may be hard to find with your basic online search.
- Inspect the property – Take a look at aerial photos, topography maps, and physically inspect the land. Check to see if it’s got the things you’re looking for, be that a pond, stream, timber, road frontage, or good soil for farming.
- Confirm the Acreage – Often times, rural land has never been surveyed. Surveys can be pricey so most land owners and buyers go with a less precise measure. Some of these options include posting the boundary lines on a map or aerial photograph. You can also pace the boundary lines if they are visible. If you have an agent, they can help you with this process.
- Test the Waters – If the property has a water feature on it, have the water tested. Sadly, it’s becoming more common for the water to be polluted.
- Check the Title – This could save you a lot of time and money. A title examination could reveal things like claims other people have on the land, limits to your rights as a home owner (a neighbor may have an easement on the property for their driveway), can identify if there’s mineral interest and more. It’s good to do this early so you don’t waste time or money and find a deal breaker when you’re well into the process.
- Test the asking price –Sellers often have a price in their mind that is unrealistic. Get an appraisal, hire a real estate professional, or go to the courthouse yourself to research this. Sale data is available at the county probate office. Look for comparable properties that are as similar as possible to the property you want to purchase. You’ll also want to make sure that the comparable property has sold recently.
- Negotiate – Once you’ve made an offer, there is still a lot to be worked out. You’ll need to decide things like, who pays for title insurance, who should be the closing attorney, mineral inclusion, and will you need a survey? If you’re buying the property for timber, you’ll also need to determine its’ value.
- Look into “Current Use” property tax status – This is a special property tax status that allows rural land to be taxed at t a lower rate than other types or real property such as residential or commercial. Current use can reduce your tax bill b y 50% or more. This is something you need to apply for. The tax assessor’s office can help you apply for this.
When you’re making a big investment like purchasing land. It’s critical that you do your homework. We hope these tips are helpful. We’d love to work with you to provide you assistance during your search for that perfect piece of property. If you’d like to take a look at some of the land we have listed, check out our land page on D4Realty.com.