Land and Property Buyer's Guide
A Few Important Tips On Purchasing Land and Property
Although this list is by no means comprehensive, it addresses a few of the most common considerations when buying land or property, especially property that is rural or remote.
1. Make sure the property is surveyed, and that the results of the survey show access to the property, easements of record, and any existing encroachments. If you decide to purchase the property, make sure the survey has been legally recorded. In the United States, recording of legal documents is usually done by the county recorder's office.
2. Make sure the property has legal as well as physical access. Just because the road goes to the property you want to buy does not mean the road is in the correct place.
3. Make sure the title to the property is clear and marketable. There should be no encumbrances, liens, or unrecorded easements. Determine what rights (water, grazing, mineral, etc.) are appurtenant to the property and its title. Inquire if the property is eligible for title insurance.
4. Find out what the property taxes will be, and decide if this is an expense you are willing to assume.
5. Ask what stores, schools, churches, law enforcement, medical, and other services are available nearby.
6. Find out if property or home insurance is available for the parcel you are considering, and what it will cost. As an example, insurers may in some cases be reluctant to provide coverage for homes that are more than 10 miles from the nearest fire station unless an additional premium is paid. Determine also if the property is located in a floodplain and find out if it qualifies for federal or other flood insurance.
7. Are there restrictions on uses of the property? Restrictions on land use are often imposed by county or municipal governments in the form of zoning or subdivision regulations. In addition, homeowner's associations may enforce deed restrictions that usually are present in the form of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R's) that should be disclosed to prospective buyers by the seller or developer.
8. Determine the type of deed that will be issued by the grantor. A warranty deed offers the most protection to the buyer.
9. Have the property appraised by a local, licensed appraiser. This gives you a very close estimate of the market value of the property.
10. What utilities are directly available at the property? Water, electricity, and heating fuel may have to be hauled, delivered, or generated on-site if the property is remote.
11. If you plan to build on the property, determine first if this is physically possible. Extremely poor access, soil that won't support a foundation, close proximity to floodplains, or inability to pass a septic system percolation (perc) test are all factors that could limit your ability to build.
12. Consider consulting a real estate attorney and/or a tax professional for advice on the purchase. The greater the amount of the investment, the greater the need for you to protect yourself by obtaining professional advice.
See our FAQ's section for additional information.
Article: Real Estate, Survey and Land Measurement
Added: Mon Feb 04 2008
Last Modified: Sat Jul 05 2008