Need advice on how to buy land

Started by jenn_dun_80, April 02, 2011, 01:39:01 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


I'm a single mom wanting to buy a few acres to build a house on. My plan is to put a moble home on the land until I can build. I have no idea what I should be looking for when buying or how to go about it. I found two different places I'm interested in. Both in my price range. One is a better deal and has everything on it. It use to have a moble home that burnt down so it'll need a little clean up but nothing too bad. The other is less land but a good price. It needs to be cleared off and will need a well and septic. I'm really thinking about the first one since it has electric, a well, and septic already. What do I ask when I contact the seller. What kind of deed is best. I keep seeing all different kinds when I look for land. Also is there something I need to do before I buy. I just don't feel right handing over money and trusting everything is good. I'm thinking there is research I need to do or something. Sorry if I'm confusing. I just want to make sure I do this right. I've been saving for a really long time and don't want to get screwed. Thanks


I will post more when I get a chance, but the first thing is to get a lawyer.  A flat fee in a rural area is a small price to pay for the long run.  IIRC it is usually around $500 and more suburban areas in the North East U.S. around $1000. You can read my previous posts for more tips I have given on buying land.  They will be pretty much rehashed when I get a chance.  Normally deeds and rights vary between states.  Also making sure you have mineral rights is a good start to protecting yourself from environmental damage.  You should be able to explain everything you are looking for and need, and the lawyer should be able to explain all of your rights and options.  Also the lawyer is on your side, unlike the seller or a realtor.  The lawyer gets paid whether the deal goes through or not, unlike the seller or realtor.  In addition, if the lawyer really screws up, they generally carry malpractice insurance.  Also don't forget to get a title search and title insurance.  The lawyer will probably recommend it.  Depending on the size of the property, neighbors, and price, a survey might be a good idea but that would be not the norm in very rural areas.


Before taking option 1, you will want to review the septic and well with a local expert to inspect and determine if they are in good working order.  You may find that they are not suitable for use, in which case you are looking at additional repair costs or possibly a rip-and-replace scenario.

Most of the properties I see listed with well/septic are listed "as is" which means the seller makes no claims of responsibility if they are not in working order.  Basically a buyer-beware situation.  If they are willing to negotiate you may be able to work something out where they pay for the inspection fees as part of the deal should the inspection come up clean.  However this inspection cost may very well come out of pocket.

Also, you may want to check with the county to ensure the land is not a registered flood zone/wetland, and that there are no restriction on use (such as placing a mobile trailer/home).  A lawyer should also be able to assist with that.
"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy


Zoning...make sure you know how the land is zoned and, because of that zoning, what it can be used for. n

Buying rural property without a survey is a gamble.  One really does not know what one is buying.  The real estate agents don't know, and don't care where those property lines are, but your neighboring property owners do, and they will care, and then so will you.  Fences and other apparent visual boundaries don't mean a thing.  Obviously opinions vary on this subject.

I can appreciate your angst about making a good choice and stretching to your financial limits to make something happen.  I have purchased 2 rural properties and started on them by plunking down a trailer and then building.  It's exciting, scary, and I would not trade the experiences for anything.

Caution, research, dogged questioning, a little good luck, a lot of hard work, and you will make it.  [cool]


Thanks everyone for the information. I wouldn't have thought about some of it.


Thanks everyone. I decided to pass on both for now. I guess I'm still scared to take the plung. It means moving off away from family and friends. Even though I want to live in the country away from everyone I don't know I'm ready. Going to keep looking closer to here. But I'm so glad for the information. It helps me to know more of what to look for and do when I find a place.


Since you are not buying these, now's a great time to start educating yourself, at your own pace.  I found a book named "Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country" invaluable.

It seemed overwhelming at first, but I stayed with it, and it was really an education about best practices, all the things that have been mentioned here and many others. 

I would agree that unless you feel very confident in your skills, a lawyer would be a very good idea.  You might also consider using a "Buyer's Agent" who is a type of real estate agent who represents you rather than the seller.

Here in New Mexico, the best kind of deed you can get is called a Warrenty Deed. Even with that it is very hard/ expensive to own certain types of rights... water, mineral.  It differs a lot from place to place.   

Our property boundaries were poorly defined, and we could not get Title Insurance without a survey.  Often you can negotiate with the seller to pay for all or some of that.