Red Flags When Buying Land

Buying rural land

There are a lot of benefits to buying raw land. Buying ranch property is usually a sound investment. It won’t go anywhere and you can only improve upon it in the future.

Besides the primary rule of location, it is important to learn everything you can about a piece of property before you buy. And besides learning all you can on paper, go see it, and inspect it for yourself. Look for any possible red flag warning signs. There may be many, there may be few. Here are some major hiccups to lookout for whether you plan to develop the land or simply to sell in the future.

1. Property Zoning

Every county in any state should have zone maps for all the land within the county. Other than land that is within city limits, through county offices you should be able to locate where the land you are looking at is located and what, if any, zoning restrictions it may have.

For example, if you are looking for a property that could possibly be developed as a strip mall or gas station off of the highway, you need to assure zoning will allow for commercial property. Similarly, if you are looking for land to use as a hunting retreat, you want to make sure hunting is allowed in that area.

2. Topography, Land Shape, and Soil Composition

You certainly don’t want to buy property for farming if the soil is too poor of quality. All crops are different and utilize different soil types, but some land just doesn’t have very many nutrients at all, or may be so hard that it would take a lot of work and money to make it farmable. Also, when looking at land to build a home, motel, chalet, or lodge, you want to make sure the land isn’t for example too mountainous, or swampy.

Don’t just look at the overall size of the property; look at the dimensions. You may find a listing for 60 acres, and you think great, “That’s just what I’d like,” and in the price range, you are looking to invest. But, maybe the acreage is long and skinny. How are you going to farm that? Or how would you be able to build upon it?

3. Land Locking

This may seem like a given, but it may not be! Check that the land has public roadway access. If you would have to utilize the neighboring property to gain access, assure there are right-of-ways and easements that you could easily utilize!

4. Former Property Use and Possible Contaminants

Find out what the current owner and, if you can, previous owners have used the land for. With commercial land, you can order an environmental report, which you may need for your loan anyway. Check into soil and water samples. No matter the potential use for the property, don’t buy contaminated property!

5. Access to Water & Utilities

When purchasing any property assure there is good water, whether for human or animal consumption, or farming. If there is already one or more wells on the property, have the water for each checked. If not, get reports regarding the depth of the groundwater table in the area and analysis of nearby water. If there is a water district nearby, find out what water they have available for farming or human use, how much is available on an annual basis, and the cost.

Furthermore, find out about access to other basic utilities including electricity, gas or propane, internet, and television.

6. Environmental Restrictions

In some areas, environmental land use restrictions for property use can apply. This generally has to do with minimizing the risk of pollutants and hazards to the environment including the air, water, and land. It may prevent some applications or uses on the property such as chemical insecticides or weed killers, and so forth.

When considering buying a ranch, or any other type of land, learn as much as possible about that property. The seller, or real estate agent, should be able to give you the answers to some of these and other related questions, it is always best to confirm everything, for your own piece of mind. After all, you will be spending your hard-earned money on it.

Check out all the listings on Land Broker MLS and contact us to talk about available land in the area which you are looking. We will help you guide you to find the answers to questions you may have while looking at land for sale.

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