Buying land is an exciting process. Whether you’re taking the plunge into a new business endeavor or finally building your dream home, finding the right piece of property is key. As real estate agents, a lot of our clients ask us about what to consider when buying land.
Below, the experienced real estate team at RE/MAX Auction House explains some of our best tips and strategies for buying land!
What are you planning to use the property for?
This is rather obvious, but it’s important to understand the different priorities of finding the right piece of land for your purpose.
For the most part, we see people buying land for the following reasons:
- Investment property for commercial use as a business
- Building a home
- Personal use such as hunting or camping
- Farm land
Investment property for a business
When buying land for a business, location is everything. If your business is going to be a destination type of setting, like a winery, you might go for a more rural location. The location you choose all depends on your target market! Take the time to figure out what type of location best suits your business to easily narrow down your search process for buying land.
Consider the following factors when scoping out land for your business:
- Highway access
- Average income level
- Zoning laws
- Land grading
- Space for parking
Building a home
A lot of the time, residential land buyers plan on building the home of their dreams. This is so exciting! While you may have a long list of wants and needs, consider some of the below factors when buying land to build a home:
- Type of location you prefer: rural, suburban, urban
- Road access
- Zoning laws
- Desired acreage
- Utility access or possibility for utilities (and cost)
The third category of typical land buyers is those who are purchasing land for personal use. This could be for hunting, camping, as an investment, or any other reason.
Your purpose for the land will dictate main things to consider when buying land for personal use, but the following traits can help:
- Terrain and land grading
- Bodies of water
- Zoning laws
Another category land buyers are looking for is farming/agricultural land. As a farmer, you are plenty familiar with good farming land based on the types of crops you work with.
Some key traits for quality farming land include:
- Arable (tillable) land
- Reliable water supply through irrigation or natural precipitation
- Little or no rocks
Should you get a survey when buying land?
A lot of our clients ask us if they should get a survey when buying land.
Our answer: YES! You should absolutely get a survey for land you want to purchase. Consider it a part of your overall investment.
A boundary survey, also sometimes referred to as a stake survey, is imperative because it helps determine boundary lines and ownership of parcels of ground. This is incredibly important, so you know exactly what land is yours. Trust us, this can help you avoid issues with neighboring landowners down the line.
A boundary survey identifies the boundaries of the property and other important traits, like:
- Lot size
- Corners of property
- Adjoining property measurements
- Building location(s)
- Landscaping & vegetation locations
- Fences & retaining wall location(s)
- Other miscellaneous property features
What to consider when buying land
Size of lot
Whatever your intent for the land, it’s important to predetermine your range of desired sizing for your lot. This helps you easily narrow down your search and budget!
In or out of city limits
With land closer to the city, prices tend to be higher. City limits may also impose certain regulations of what you can or can’t do with your land, so this is a special consideration to make. In or out of city limits can also affect the cost of the property, access to utility systems, and road accessibility.
Property zoning is determined by local laws, also known as ordinances. For example, certain pieces of land may be prohibited for commercial use. As you can see, buying a property for a specific use then finding out that this use is illegal is an enormous setback.
Therefore, it’s important to understand the type of zoning the property has before you purchase it. Make sure that you know details about zoning you will need as you look for land to buy.
For most uses, utilities are necessary for your land purchase. Establish beforehand whether you will need utilities or the possibility of adding utilities after buying. This also affects the price of the land and your own budget.
Is the property next to a highway? Is there an easily accessible road leading to it? If you’re purchasing for a business, is there anything that would obstruct customer or employee access? Understanding a property’s accessibility is a key factor to consider.
Other tips | What to consider when buying land
Figure out your likes & dislikes and needs vs. wants
It may be enticing to dive in immediately and browse a ton of land properties available for purchase. The issue is that this can be overwhelming, or you might find a property you think you want, but will later find that it doesn’t have what you need.
Tip #1: Work with your realtor to write out a list of things you would like to see in a property. These traits will be totally specific to what you intend on doing with the land. Then, write out some traits you would dislike in a property.
Tip #2: Write out features you will need and features you would like to have as a bonus. This could be something like space for a homesite, amount of trees, etc. This can help you prioritize property features and weigh your options easier.
When buying a property, these lists can help you and your realtor narrow down the best property options for you. Like buying a home, you may have to compromise on certain features.
At RE/MAX Auction House, we believe each property is as unique as each buyer. When helping you find the right property, we tailor our services to your unique needs.
Do your homework!
Just like when buying a home, it’s important to do your due diligence when buying land. It’s in your best interest to not just rely on maps. This is a big investment—possibly the biggest investment of your life—so doing your homework on the property is key!
Get access to ground footage and drone footage. Be willing to walk the land and get to know the property, its boundaries, and other key features. A lot of buyers will tour the property using an all-wheel vehicle. An in-person, thorough viewing (along with a boundary survey!) is super important if you want to make the right move.
Why you should consider buying land through online auction
The process is on a fixed timeline
With traditional real estate, it’s hard to know how fast the availability of a property listing will change. This is not the case for online real estate auctions thanks to our fixed timelines. The listing goes up with the fixed timeline for everyone to see, and the auction will close on an established day.
Up Next: How To Sell Land Online
As a buyer, this gives you clear information on when everything will take place. For many people, this significantly reduces the stress of buying land.
Related: How To Buy a House at Auction
You’ll enjoy the transparency
One of the most difficult things as a buyer is the uncertainty of your offer’s acceptance. Often you don’t know the number of other interested parties and how much they’re offering, so you can overestimate or underestimate your offer.
In the traditional property buying process, this makes buyers feel like they’re in the dark. With auction, you know exactly how many people are bidding PLUS their offers. Many find purchasing at auction gives them ultimate transparency to help guide their decision making.
You’re empowered as a buyer
Speaking of decision making, many buyers feel more confident and empowered when bidding through online auctions. They know the competition, the prices of other bids, and exactly how much time they have to make their decision.
This creates an empowered buyer who knows if their bid is likely to win. This also helps buyers know when they can stop bidding and move on to finding a different property.
Learn more about what to consider when buying land from the real estate experts at RE/MAX Auction House!
RE/MAX Auction House is a group of agents, brokers, and auctioneers with a passion for all things real estate. Our team of real estate professionals has over 50 years of combined experience. We offer both traditional real estate listings and online auction listings, and we love providing our services for our buyers and sellers.
Proudly associated with RE/MAX for the last 37 years, RE/MAX Auction House is advancing the real estate industry through our online auction platform. We serve the greater Kansas City metropolitan area and surrounding regions.
For more information on what to consider when buying land, reach out to us online or at 816.741.0123. We can also help you secure financing with one of our trusted mortgage lenders.