Tips and information for buying land

As a realtor and registered forester, I have the certain qualifications to write about buying and selling rural real estate, primarily land. I’ve sold thousands of acres as a realtor and managed hundreds of thousands as a forester since 1973.

If you are considering buying rural land, this article can help you with some helpful tips and information. The points below will give you some basic information and an understanding of what you need to look for and what to look for when buying land.

Land view. Do you want a farm, woodland, development potential, personal plot, hunting, agriculture? All this can rarely be on one piece of land. Think about what you are planning and what you are achieving from there. Of course, most tracts can be used in different ways, but sometimes local use restrictions should be considered.

Access. Hope you have access to the highway. Some parcels may only have an easement. If so, look at the current easement plan and its width. A 20-foot-wide easement for a property you later want to build is a major drawback if the parish requires, for example, a 50-foot-wide easement for the street.

Utilities. Water is of course critical, but for drinking and livestock. Is there a waterline available? If not, what are the costs of drilling a well in the area and are there water quality problems in the groundwater? Will there be water in a drought? Is there a livestock stream here and does it run all year round? Does anyone have water rights? Is there electricity? Internet, cable, mobile phone or landline phone? Easy to check now, difficult or impossible to get later.

Property income. As a forester, I know the value of wood. When exploring the countryside, take a close look at the wood, and if there is a lot of it, ask your local forester to rate it for you. I have seen timber cost 3/4 the value of the requested property even in recent years. Make sure your sales contract states that the existing wood is for sale. It may have already been sold! Look for other income potential, such as a hunting lease, where property taxes and negligible management costs can be easily paid. There is also rent of agricultural enterprises. Always make sure the land agreement includes all mining rights.

We make an offer. Find out what local sales have been in similar and nearby lands. If you do not use the services of a realtor representing the buyer, you may want to consider one. Usually their fee is paid from the seller’s funds, but this is not always confirmed. Check to see if land prices are dropping in the area. Allocate yourself time for the inspection and the right, yourself or others you can hire to do the inspection, to the property. Give yourself a way out of the contract if the checks fail. Make sure wood and minerals are included. Don’t try to steal the offer, you will just make the seller angry. Make an honestly workable offer and move on.

Closing. Contact a real estate attorney to verify the title deed and close. They will know what to look out for documents, easements, and property liens. Ask the salesperson any questions you may have and if he has any reports, old signs and maps you may have. Ask about the history of the land before it was lost, as you may never see the seller again if he leaves.

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