Whether you’re investing in farmland, expanding the acreage of your existing property, or looking for vacant lots to build on, buying large tracts of land can get a little complicated–especially if you’re new to the process. After all, there’s a whole lot of ground to cover (literally!) when it comes to assessing a land property.
Water access, utility options, environmental factors, and much more, can easily overwhelm the first time land buyer. Don’t let it get you down. Take stock of what you do know, then tackle the stuff you don’t. The more you can educate yourself ahead of time, the better your chances of staying focused, navigating the land buying process smoothly, and avoiding buyer’s remorse.
“Staying ahead of the curve prevents a leader from being overwhelmed when pressure is applied and enables greater decisiveness.”Jocko Willink, podcaster and author of Extreme Ownership.
Buying a large plot of land may not necessarily make you a leader, but if done wisely, it can certainly position you as someone with greater personal wealth, financial security, and personal fulfillment. However, before you dive into your first land investment, take the following 3 factors into consideration:
1.) Location, Location, Location
It’s true when it comes to buying a house and it’s true when it comes to buying land: location matters.
Make sure you know not only what’s adjacent to the property in question, but what other types of properties or natural features are located nearby. What sort of amenities or attractions are within a five-mile radius? Are there any plans for development or revitalization in the general vicinity? All of these things can affect the value of your property.
If you have difficulty figuring this stuff out on your own, consider enlisting the help of a licensed real estate broker or agent to do some research for you.
2.) Water Access and Drainage
Be it a large tract of land or just a few acres, determining the water situation is key when it comes to choosing the right property for your needs.
In areas that are prone to flooding, understanding which percentage of the land is usable is very important. You may find a 50-acre tract of land at a great price, only to discover 25% of it is marshland that can’t be used. Likewise, having a property that offers river frontage can be appealing but understand that owning land near a body of water presents its own set of risks.
Even if the property looks dry, drainage issues can lead to flooding after a good rainstorm. Check flood-zone and watershed reports on the property in question and ask your real estate professional for assistance.
3.) Environmental Factors
Aside from flood risks and drainage, other environmental factors should be considered before purchasing land. These include resource rights, conservation easements, and access rights, to name a few. Resource rights are rights of other individuals or entities to access your property for the purpose of accessing or protecting resources. For example, if that the land you are purchasing has acres of hardwood forest and timber rights, that could mean that the trees on certain parts of your property are actually owned by a third party.
Conservation easements are legal agreements that limit the use of land or natural resources. If your property includes a conservation easement, you may be unable to hunt, cut down trees, farm, or otherwise disturb the natural environment. For some landowners, a conservation easement can be a beneficial feature; for others, it can be an unappealing limitation.
Additional Resources for Researching Land for Sale
Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list of important factors associated with buying land. However, these three major considerations will help you get started as you carefully assess a property for sale.
Take a look at the resources below for more information, and be sure to browse our current listings for land for sale in the Carolinas.
- Flood Maps – https://www.fema.gov/flood-maps
- Public Access Guide for Landowners, Water Trails and River Managers – https://www.river-management.org/assets/WaterTrails/landowner%20guidance_final_final_revised_1-21-2016.pdf
- Surf Your Watershed, USEPA – https://www.epa.gov/waterdata/surf-your-watershed