Helpful tips on buying rural land
Even though it pains me to do so, im not going to mention a word about HUNTING in this note!
Day in and day out I walk the beautiful Ohio woods with potential land buyers. We talk of dreams and plans that these folks have for their new property. I hear many stories about their search for the perfect property and I can tell you that it is a tough and time consuming job for the buyer to find just what they are looking for.
I have some tips that may help when you buy rural land…
1 Forget about how you purchased your home!
Most folks only experience with a real estate purchase was their experience with their realtor driving them around looking at house after house until they found one they liked. The typical “home” Real estate agent does not understand the factors involved with a raw land purchase. They do not understand mineral rights, easements, timbering, topography leases, etc.
Find a good land Realtor that understands your purchase and needs. There are not too many agents that are eager to spend the time to find and gather the required information that it takes to show a tract of land and find out the specifics on the land itself. Most land buyers realize that if they are going to find their ideal property, they are going to have to have to work for it and sometimes do their own homework ! Get a good pair of hiking boots, bug spray and a good state map or GPS that shows back roads.
2. Make a list!
When you call me asking about land for sale I usually know who has made a list and who has not. This is a very important step in your purchase. As a land specialist, I cannot help you find your ideal property if you’re not sure what you are looking for.
What part of the state? How are you going to use the property? Are mineral rights important to you? How many acres do you want? How much are you looking to spend? Have you spoke with a lender? Are you wanting to split off some of the land to sell off or pass on to family? What’s your interpretation of “steep” ? How soon are you looking to purchase? Are nearby utilities a must? How do you feel about public land? Are you going to plant crops?
The list goes on… I can quickly tell you if I have any property to suit your needs if you are armed with the answers to these questions!
3. Hit the road!
After you have narrowed down a few properties to look at from using the list above, you are ready to roll ! Try to plan on 1-2 hours per property to get a good look at them. If your meeting a land specialist, you are good to go. If you’re looking on your own, make a route and have good directions. I cannot tell you how many folks call me from “down in the hollow ” with bad cell phone service and need better directions to the property they are looking for. It’s a tough conversation to have! If you’re taking your children, pack a picnic lunch and take some basic toiletries and bug spray! Also, tell your teenage daughter that Flip-Flops have no place in the woods! None of her friends will see her in those big clunky boots of dads.
4. Self Service
A good amount of my clients like to look on their own before asking to see the property boundaries or corner pins with me. Some make a family trip out of it and end up having some great family time. If you decide to look at a property on your own let the sellers agent know when you plan on being there. Also, ALWAYS ask for an aerial plat of the property. Most land specialists make these readily available. It’s great to use the aerial while standing on the property to get a good “feel” for where you are. Even a small wooded 5 acre tract is hard to look at without that aerial if you are on your own. Also, ask the seller or their agent if they have a copy of a recent survey of the property.
5. The offer.
Your land specialist or agent should be able to help you submit an offer to the seller. The auditors web sites are online in most OHIO counties. They have tons of info on taxes, parcel size, previous sales, neighbors…etc. This information can help make your decision on your offer amount.
The following is the Ohio link for a list of auditors by county http://www.caao.org/DIRECTORY/
You can also find soil, water well and oil/gas well info on the internet just by checking the ODNR and USDA web sites. Land value in OHIO is holding its own at the moment and some tracts are selling fast ! Forget about the housing market when you make your land offer. There are some good deals to be had and sellers are motivated. Most lenders right now (yes they are making loans) require around 20%-25% down to qualified buyers. Many sellers are also entertaining the Land Contract offer as well.
With the current economy, many folks have decided to stay close to home for their vacations and weekend excursions. I think that sitting around a campfire with family and friends on a nice tract of Ohio land will always be a great investment.