Deciding to purchase Land is a big decision, and can also be very rewarding. Like any big decision, it starts with a PLAN. Having a plan about your purchase will make your buying experience much more enjoyable and stress free. I always tell a prospective buyer to consider 4 key factors to a successful land search.
1.) HAVE A BUDGET…..You can’t fully commit to a property that you are not certain you can afford. Too often, people fall in love with a property and make an offer, only to find out they cant afford it. It leads to frustration, lower expectations, and negativity. Knowing your budget from the beginning is crucial to a great buying experience. For most people, depending on the acreage size, you will more than likely finance the property. There are several great lenders such as First South Farm Credit , Alabama Ag Credit, and Alabama Farm Credit that specialize in financing rural land and larger scale properties. In most cases traditional lenders will not provide a loan for larger properties, however, it varies for each clients financial status. For higher net worth individuals or cash buyers, you have the luxury to make a decision how much you can spend.
2.) LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION…..It is important to make a decision of where you are looking to purchase. This does not necessarily mean that you cant have an open mind, it simply means to have a general idea. I have had prospective buyers call me and say “John, i want to purchase 150 ares no more than 4 hours from Birmingham.” That is a wide range that pretty much covers the whole state of Alabama. I always recommend, to narrow it down to your top 2-3 favorite counties or areas you want to be in.
3.) THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX…..Most people know what they want to buy because they have been to a friend/family members place and want something similar. Maybe you saw property on the internet and you want it to look just like that, maybe you simply picture it in your head, and thats what you desire. Thats all great, and I don’t disagree with those goals. However, it is imperative to keep in mind that some of the best property out there, is property that can be improved. Here is a good example: You have probably been to a property where you pull in through a locked gate, drive past some food plots and mature pine plantation, and arrive up to a beautiful cabin with acres of open pasture around it……. But we forget, that it was nothing but woods at some point and there was nothing there….but the owner had a vision for what he could do. It is the same concept with land. If you are looking for a property that has multiple 3-5 acre fields on it, or a place that you can put 100 head of cattle, or the perfect property but there is no pond on it. These are all elements that should never be deal breakers. One of the most rewarding aspects of being a land owner is making the improvements. It is self satisfying and very rewarding. You can enjoy your property knowing you did it the way “you wanted.”
4.) CONSULT WITH A PROFESSIONAL…..There are several types of Real Estate agents. Some sell residential housing, some sell commercial properties, and others sell Land. Think of it this way…..if you get a cavity or have a tooth ache, are you going to call your dentist, or your cardiologist? You will call the Dentist. Both are doctors, but they specialize in two completely different areas. Real Estate is no different. When you buy or sell Land, I would advise you to consult with an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) that can bring value to you.
Focusing on these 4 points will make your experience much more enjoyable. Knowing your budget, desired location, thinking outside the box, and using a trusted professional that understands the land market are guaranteed to make you more prepared and educated when it is time to buy. Most importantly, have a plan. If you fail to plan, plan to fail.