Buying Land

Buying Cheap Rural Real Estate Can Be Risky

There are many aspects of purchasing rural real estate that can be considered risky. One of those risks is buying low-cost land for sale. We’ve been experiencing a seller’s market and land has gotten expensive. The cost of buying land has led some to postpone their land search, while others have taken to scouring the internet for cheap land for sale to build a home, live off-grid, or just to have a quiet getaway to enjoy with family and friends.

Typically cheap land will not include any buildings, grid hookups, or water on the property. Amenities and buildings, even older fixer-uppers often add considerable cost. Sometimes land is priced low because it’s not in a desirable location. But if you’re looking at a land listing and the comparables don’t support the asking price, it could be a red flag. There are many reasons why that land you found is uncharacteristically cheap:

  • An additional investment will be needed for site development costs in order for the land to be usable. Utility costs can get very expensive, depending on your location and proximity to public utility connections
  • The property has building and zoning restrictions, setbacks or easements. Even small rules and regulations can interfere with how much of the land can be allocated for functional use
  • It has liens, rights-of-way, easements, covenants, or other deed restrictions or encroachments on the property
  • The property is located in a high-risk flood zone or fire zone
  • The soil is low quality. The soil type of any parcel will have a great impact on the land’s value
  • There are nearby nuisances such as unwanted noises, smells, or hazards

Pat Porter, broker with RecLand Realty, has been in the real estate business for over a decade. He is licensed in 6 states in the South and Midwest and he has seen many different scenarios play out with people that choose to buy low-cost rural land. In this video, Pat warns of some traps that are common with buying cheap land and offers some advice if you decide to purchase cheap property. Buyers should remember that there is a reason why the land is cheap. Pat encourages buyers to go about it the right way, so that they can get the property they want and enjoy owning it.

This content may not be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, in part or in whole, without written permission of LANDTHINK. Use of this content without permission is a violation of federal copyright law. The articles, posts, comments, opinions and information provided by LANDTHINK are for informational and research purposes only and DOES NOT substitute or coincide with the advice of an attorney, accountant, real estate broker or any other licensed real estate professional. LANDTHINK strongly advises visitors and readers to seek their own professional guidance and advice related to buying, investing in or selling real estate.

About the author

Pat Porter

Pat is the owner / broker for RecLand Realty. RecLand specializes in selling hunting land, timberland, farms, & ranches in LA, AR, MS, TX, IA, & MO. See their company website at

Pat, his wife, and three boys are land owners and enjoy hunting, shooting, and an outdoor lifestyle. They live in northeast Louisiana and are usually in the woods somewhere several times a week.


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  • I just love your videos Pat, as well as your personhood! I take you as a man who conducts himself with honor and integrity, in addition to being highly professional and knowledgeable.

    I am working through some low-level cancer at the moment, living in eastern PA but wanting to move south. At 66, I can’t do these winters anymore and long for some honorable, salt-of-the-earth people. I’m a conservative looking into a homestead-light situation in the Ozarks of Arkansas, somewhere around Eureka Springs the Beaver Lake region. I am planning a road trip to visit when my treatments are over in the spring.

    At my age and being alone, I don’t think I’m able to build a log home over the summer in time for the following
    winter. Do you know of any tax sales or foreclosed properties with a rough cabin I could work on over the summer? I am investment rich and cash poor living on SS. Not a great situation but I need to get out of where I am. And into a low-crime, homestead community, though with lots of privacy. Water source is necessary and at least have electric close by in case I find it too difficult not having power. Home supply store, hospital and provisions within 30-45 minutes. Any ideas or thoughts?

    • Joe, I hear you about wanting to get to a more mild winter climate. That’s a beautiful part of AR for sure! I don’t have an immediate solution for you but I will keep an eye out and think through who I can recommend in that area that may have an ear to the ground.

      We’d love to have you in the South!

      Thanks for your kind words!


  • Thanks for the advice. I have been looking to purchase some land, and I usually research words that I don’t understand; words like “Perk.” These kinds of words are usually a good indicator that research is needed.

  • Thank you Pat, for the information. You have opened my eyes to the three major traps, and the final part question why.


    • Thanks for watching and taking time to comment. Lots of good seller-financers out’s the shady ones, or just the careless ones, who ruin it for many folks. Have a good summer!

      – Pat

  • Thanks, Pat for that information, I looking to buy some land in Holbrook, Az, and your right I need to fly out and look and walk on it.

Pulse Question

Do you agree with government regulating or restricting the use(s) of water on private land?


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