How to Easily Buy Land
Where and How to Buy Land? How Do You Buy Land? Do You Need a Realtor to Buy Land?
Have you ever thought about buying land, but are nervous about how it works? You know it’s a smart investment, but it feels like there’s a lot to consider. If you’re trying to get a clearer picture, start with the quick overview below - it’ll help you understand why people buy land.
Quick Overview - Why Buy Land?
Investing in land and buying land is not a well understood concept. Most people don’t know for sure how land buying works. And even fewer people understand how investing in land is a smart strategic move for diversifying your portfolio. You don’t want to be one of these people.
No one is talking about why land is a great investment. That presents you with a fantastic opportunity.
Here are 3 big reasons why people are buying land:
Land is a finite resource - there’s only so much of it!
Land is a tangible resource, it can’t disappear like stock or shares.
Land is affordable! You can owner finance any of our properties for sale.
If you’re looking for more, here are 9 more reasons why land is such a great investment.
So, now that you’re convinced buying land is a great idea (*wink*), you'll be happy to know that you don’t need a realtor or broker, and there isn’t a mountain of paperwork to go through.
How to Buy Land Without a Realtor
The process of buying land is much easier than when you buy a house. You don’t need a real estate agent or broker, and you don’t need to sign a bunch of headache-inducing mortgage documents.
The downside to buying a property through an agent is that the seller has already agreed to pay a commission for the sale - i.e. you are paying more for the agent’s commission.
The commission makes the asking price of a piece of land anywhere from 3% to 8% higher than if you purchase through a land company or a private owner. Land companies are often ‘mom and pop shops’ so they will be working really hard to get you the best possible price - not something that has a 5% cushion and is more than market value.
Also keep in mind that not all real estate agents and offices have experience buying and selling land.
There are many alternative (and free!) places you can browse to find land for sale across the U.S. You just need to know where to look for the best land for sale.
Where to Find Land for Sale
Finding your dream property isn’t easy. You could easily spend many hours searching online, getting lost in the rabbit hole that is the internet. A simple Google search of ‘land for sale’ will turn up hundreds of pages of results. How are you supposed to know where to start?
Thankfully, there are a handful of key sites online you need to look at when beginning your search for land:
Posting a piece of land to Craigslist is free.
You can often find cheap land for sale across the U.S. and a lot of sellers will offer you owner financing.
That being said, you also have a high probability of running into scams and sellers that don’t know what they’re doing. This is a risk for you because when you purchase property for sale by owner, you’re trusting the owner that there are no debts or liens on the lot, and that the title chain is clear.
This goliath owns all the popular land buy and sell sites like Lands of America, Land and Farm, and LandWatch. This site is pay to use for listings, so you will get more serious and committed sellers here.
You will also get a lot of realtors and brokers. In my own experience, it’s very difficult to buy and sell property through a realtor. Their commission on land is so low compared to houses and multi-family buildings, it’s hard for them to prioritize properties. Know that if you contact a realtor through the Lands to inquire about a property, you could be waiting a while for a response.
You will also see a lot of land investing companies, like Compass Land USA, on this site.
Another free site for sellers to post land on.
There tends to be a focus on cheaper, lower end properties for sale on eBay. This is because in an auction setting, the seller risks not getting their desired values for their property.
Similar to Craigslist, you will have to be wary of scams. Avoid seller profiles that are brand new and have no ratings or reviews. Remember you also have the risk that the seller won’t know what they’re doing, and might not be able to close on the property properly.
Free and easy to use!
Most people already have a Facebook and Facebook Messenger account, so it will be easy for you to join Buy/Sell groups and look at properties for sale in Facebook Marketplace.
There are some Facebook groups that are specific to land for sale, just try searching ‘land for sale Florida’, and filter the results to see only ‘Groups’.
There are a ton of properties for sale on this site, and it gets a lot of traction.
You can post as an owner, and don’t need to be a realtor to use it, but many realtors post on this site.
You can narrow down your search criteria to ‘land’ and then further filter down to your price range and the acreage you’re looking for.
Very similar to Zillow, works in almost the same way as well.
The big difference here is that at the time of writing, you need to be a real estate agent and be working in an area that Redfin operates in order to post land for sale.
The best place to find land for sale is directly from a company’s website (like my company, Compass Land USA - shameless plug).
This is because you will have everything you need to move forward right there. You’ll have their contact info (a phone number, physical address, and an email address), the property details and pictures, and exactly how much the property will cost.
You can also see Testimonials from previous customers so you’ll know what to expect. Hint: if the reviews are bad, and the company can’t be found on the Better Business Bureau, consider your next move very carefully.
Whatever site you decide to purchase through, make sure you’re comfortable with the person or company you’re about to purchasing land from. You should feel like they’re a pro and know exactly what they’re doing. And they should be willing to offer you a great guarantee, so you can feel really great about your land purchase.
3 Tips for Buying Land
Once you’ve found the property you love and want to make yours, it is really easy to buy land. It’s like buying a TV or a t-shirt. You know what you want, you exchange the monetary value for the product, and you gain ownership.
Before you decide how you’re going to pay for the property, there are a few things you should watch out for. Land is easy to buy, but can be complicated to fully understand. There can be a lot of potential problems hiding under the surface (pun intended).
All jokes aside, you want to understand 3 key features of the property before buying it:
Is the property easily found on Google Maps? Can you access the property or is it landlocked? How can you access it - easement, dirt road, paved road? Is there resale value in the future?
County zoning laws describe what you can and can’t do on your property. That’s why you have a next door neighbor and not a Walmart in your backyard. Make sure the zoning lines up with what you wanted to do to the property, like building a house or go hunting. You can easily check this with the County using the property’s parcel number.
What public utilities are available? If you’re looking for a recreational or investment lot, this may not affect you. For everyone else, utilities could make or break your property purchase. If the property doesn’t have access to one or more of the essentials (water, sewage, and electric), it may not be buildable.
These are 3 really important property features to know before you buy. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list that will help you with your property due diligence, ask these 15 questions before you commit to buy land.
How Can You Buy Land?
There are two main ways you can buy land: cash or owner financing. To buy a property with cash means you pay for the value of the property at the time of purchase (like that t-shirt from your favorite store).
To buy a property through owner financing means the property is paid for in monthly instalments over time, and once the property has been paid for in full you gain ownership (like mortgage payments on your house).
I’m going to focus on how to buy land with cash. If you’re interested in how to buy land with owner financing, you can learn how to do that here.
How to Buy Land with Cash
To use cash is definitely the easiest way to buy land if you’ve got the money for it. Here’s how buying land with cash should work.
First, communicate with the seller, and let them know you’re interested. Do not skip this next step! Make sure you ask them if the title chain is clear, and if there are any back taxes or liens owed on the property. You can use the property’s parcel number to double check with the County offices or online database that title is clear and no debts are owed.
That is super important because if the seller doesn’t have the right to transfer ownership of the property (aka they don’t really own it), the County will be able to tell you.
If everything looks good, you can expect the following procedure (though it will vary slightly based on what company or person you’re buying land from):
Expect a Land Sale Contract to be sent to you for your review. The contract should detail out the property you’re purchasing with its property number, address, and legal description. It should list you as the Grantee, and the seller as the Grantor. It should also describe the agreed purchase price of the property, and any additional fees.
You and the seller will both sign the documents. Often, this is done through an online service like DocuSign or SignNow. If this service is used, you and the seller will automatically be emailed signed copies.
The seller should then notarize a deed, deeding the property ownership to you. Ideally, you want the seller to use a Special Warranty or a Warranty Deed. The deed is what actually conveys the property ownership from the seller to you as the buyer. They should also let you know this has been done, evidenced by a picture or video (it helps build trust before you actually pay for the property - if evidence isn’t offered, don’t feel bad asking for it!)
At this point, the seller will likely ask you for your payment. If you’re paying online with your debit or credit card, ensure that the seller is offering you a secure and safe checkout. Important: Do not send money unless you have received a signed copy of the Land Sale Contract! Otherwise you could risk sending money, and not have any legal backup in case the seller tries to scam you.
Once the payment of the property has been received, the property can be recorded under its new ownership with the County. A good seller or company will take care of this for you, as well as the closing costs. Most counties will finish recording within 3-5 business days. Once the county files the deed, they will assign it a book and page number, so you will be able to look it up on their online database or in the recorder’s office. Make sure the seller mails you the original deed so you have it for your records!
Your Bottom Line on How to Buy Land
Once people understand the benefits of land ownership, there isn’t a barrier to entry - buying land is a really simple process. You don’t need a realtor or broker to buy land. You are fully equipped to do this yourself!
Make sure you’re buying through a legitimate seller or land company by checking out their reviews from past customers. Of course, there are things you need to watch out for before moving forward with your decision, like the property’s location, zoning and utilities available.
It’s especially simple to buy land with cash. In a couple of simple steps, you can quickly realize your dreams of property ownership!
I hope this helped you understand how to buy land with cash. If you have any questions about the process of buying land you can leave a comment below. I’d be happy to go over this process with you and address any questions you have. I look forward to hearing from you!
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