5 Things to Know Before Buying Vacant Land


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Depending on whether you are looking to purchase a piece of land to build on, hunt, or use as recreational property with the family, there are some things you should consider before buying.

    1. Know What You Are Buying
    2. Know exactly the boundaries of what you are going to be purchasing. Make sure that there is a current survey on file for the property. Take the time to gain a strong understanding of what you are buying. If possible, ask the seller to walk you around the property and have them show you where the corners are by flagging them.


    1. Do Your Research
    2. Depending on whether you are looking to build on the property or use it strictly as a recreational property, you will want to have a good understanding about what the land consists of. In regards to zoning, this can dictate what can and cannot be done with the property. You can start this research by going to your local assessor’s office, or looking this information up online. The local assessor can also tell you about the property taxes, in addition to the zoning of the property.


      If you are planning to build on the property you will want to make sure the property is buildable. In many cases, this means attaining a flood certificate, making sure the land is zoned to be built on, and determining if sewer, water, and electrical hook up are attainable. These are just some of the items you will want to check out before you buy a lot to build on.


      Additionally, you want to makes sure that there is legal access to your property. One of the major issues that often is discovered when the title search comes back are mysterious access issues. All easements must be legally documented and recorded at the court house. This is important because this will legally give you access to your property. In most cases, a bank will not give you a loan if you do not have legal access to your property.


    1. Know Your Surroundings and the Future Plans
    2. Depending on whether you will be using this property for hunting or to build your new home, you will want to know who your neighbors are, and what surrounds your property. This is obviously to protect you and your family, but also is prudent to educate yourself as to the future plans for the properties surrounding yours that could potentially impact the value of your property. Some of the most common would be railroad tracks, wind turbines, state or other development plans.   You will not be able to predict all of these occurrences but doing the research before you buy could save you a headache down the road.


    1. Get Your Finances Figured Out
    2. Before you approach the seller with a possible price to purchase the property, it is important to know what you can afford.  Give your local GreenStone Farm Credit Services loan officer a call and let them know what type of property you are looking to purchase and they will provide you with an application package in order to secure a pre-approval.  You can use this pre-approval to gain leverage with the sellers.  If you have proof that you can secure a loan, many times a seller is more likely to want to come to an agreed upon price.


    1. Draft an Offer to Purchase
    2. When you have gained a good understanding of the property that you are purchasing, work with the seller or an agent to draft an offer to purchase.  You can attain a copy of an offer to purchase on several websites.  If you are comfortable drafting one between the two parties, you can do that.  If not, call a local realtor, attorney or title company to help you put your offer in writing.  Make sure that you put the entire agreement in writing, to avoid any issues that could delay a closing.


The best piece of advice I can give you in regards to buying recreational, hunting, or a land to build on is to work with a loan officer that is familiar with these types of properties.  They can help you through the process in addition to fitting you with the right product and term for your loan.  Happy Land Shopping!
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