It’s the most important factor whenever you buy real estate. Consider what your needs are now and what they will be 10 years from now. As your family grows, will the location help or hinder your family’s ability to enjoy the property? If you’re choosing a very rural location, how much infrastructure might you require to meet your needs (access to major interstates, shopping, health care, etc.).
What are you buying the land for? Do you want to build on it? Maybe live there one day? Does the topography meet your needs? Do you want a pond, or pasture? Do you plan to harvest the timber? Will its best use be as a hunting tract? Make sure you take some time to look down the road and decide exactly what you want the land to be—and do—for you.
Types of Land
Sometimes, it comes down to understanding how much money you want to spend, in the long run. What kind of land are you buying? Are there utilities that can be brought to your property? Will you need better access to the property? Will you need to maintain roads?
It’s important to understand if future development can happen near your property. If you build a cabin or home, does it have to be in a certain location or distance from the property line? Is land around you government-owned or managed? Is any of it in conservation?
Will you be able to put a well on your property? These kinds of questions should be asked in advance, as some jurisdictions have very limited restrictions in terms of permitting and some are more comprehensive. Understand what kind of permits you’ll need to have the finished property you want.
These are legal obligations imposed on the buyer. Typically, there are few, if any, restrictive covenants when purchasing rural property; however, depending on the community you are purchasing in, it’s important to ask the question, especially if you are unsure what you will be doing with your property several years down the road.
Utilities and roads
Well, if there aren’t any, you’re responsible for putting them in. Power, water, gas, septic and cable will all have to be brought to the property, even if you’re planning a simple cabin in the woods.
Liens and easements
A lien is a monetary claim against your property. An easement is someone’s legal right to use your property for a stated purpose. Easements typically transfer with an ownership change. Even if an easement isn’t currently being used, don’t assume that will be the case into the future. Easements are part of the deed, and can be enforced at any time.
If you’re not sure about the property’s boundaries, spend the money for a survey. It’s the only way to be sure of exactly what you own, and it will be helpful down the road, should you choose to build on the property or sell it.
Have all the facts
Once you’ve asked these questions, you’ll be ready to buy your property.