Pulse Results

Pulse: Land Buyers Have No Tolerance for Risk

Pulse: Land Buyers Have No Tolerance for Risk

Last month, the LANDTHINK Pulse posed the following question to our audience: How likely are you to buy land without touring it in person?

The majority of potential land buyers believe buying land without actually seeing it in person is a risky strategy. Our informal online survey revealed that 56% of respondents said they would be VERY UNLIKELY to make an offer on a property they hadn’t toured in person. Sometimes to secure the land you want as quickly as possible, you may have to decide to buy property without ever touring it. This is called buying land sight unseen.

Pulse Results: March 2023

As a nation, we’ve gotten used to buying many things without seeing them first. The internet has become the go-to place for making purchase decisions big and small. More and more, people are buying cars, jewelry, furniture and other expensive items sight unseen. But what about land?

According to to last month’s results, an overwhelming number of buyers understand that there is great risk in failing to see defects to the property with a sight-unseen purchase. We can follow their reasoning. There are so many variables when buying land, so many subjective aspects to any one piece of property, it is almost impossible to really know the land you’re considering purchasing without putting boots on the ground. It’s true, you can’t fully grasp all the characteristics and nuances of rural land without previewing it in person. This is especially true if you are evaluating land you intend to build on in the future.

When you buy rural land entirely online, you have to rely on second-hand information for your research, including photos and videos from the listing, virtual tours, and the opinion of your land agent. This makes it difficult to get a true feel for the property and determine if there is anything that could limit your ability to use your property however you want.

You should never purchase land without first doing your due diligence. But over the years, the concept of due diligence and what sort of research is necessary to make an educated decision has evolved. It’s no longer mandatory to walk a property in person. It’s definitely ideal to be able to walk the parcel, pin to pin, but don’t let an inability to physically step foot on the property hold you back from moving quickly on a property. In a market still plagued by low inventory, you don’t want to let a property you love get away.

The idea that anyone would make such a large investment without first being able to see a property in person might seem strange, but is it really? Buying land can be done completely online these days. From taking a virtual tour to electronically signing your closing documents, it’s possible to buy land without ever seeing it in person. Technology can be one of the greatest assets to learning as much information as possible, and land listing platforms such as LANDFLIP have brought technology solutions to buyers and sellers. Today, photos, videos, and drone footage are of high quality. With so many online resources at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to find and purchase land.

It’s not only possible to search and review properties from your computer, iPad or smartphone, but you can also do extensive due diligence online. And a smart buyer should be able to rely on a high-quality agent or broker to act as their eyes and ears.

In some situations, you should consider buying without touring it first. Let’s talk about those specific situations.

When It’s a Competitive Market

In many regions around the country, the land market is still hot. As a result, it’s not uncommon for a property to go on the market and be under contract within hours. If you know a tract is going to sell quickly, getting your offer in as soon as possible is supremely important.

When You Live A Long Way From The Property

The ability to buy land online, or without touring it first, is a major benefit when you live a long distance from the property. Traveling back and forth to personally inspect every interesting land listing that pops up in front of you isn’t feasible if distances are large.

When There’s No Time to Look

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to look at a property. If you’re busy working a full-time job, trying to fit a showing into your very limited downtime is nearly impossible. If you want to buy some hunting ground and be ready when the season opens, buying unseen might be the only choice if you can’t get there right away.

If You Know What You’re Doing

Seasoned land buyers know that with today’s sophisticated topographical maps, digital photography, county resources, etc, it’s very easy to get a solid impression of the land’s aesthetics from the comfort of your home. It makes visiting the land in person seem far less critical. Due diligence matters more than anything- checking that the title is clear, checking to see if it’s a flood zone, road access, utility access, back-taxes, and the list goes on. Those are the things that will really make the difference between a successful land transaction and a disaster – and those things can be done on the phone or online. 

Buying land sight unseen is safe if you follow appropriate precautions and ensure the property meets your needs and you’ve thoroughly checked all details.

There are specific scenarios where buying land sight unseen makes sense. If you’ve done your homework, are working with an experienced buyer’s agent, and you have taken the time to view all photos, videos and ask all of your questions, you will most likely find the virtual land buying experience to be quite fun.

Although the virtual land-buying experience is still growing, it shares many similarities with an in-person purchase. By taking the right steps, you’ll be able to remotely purchase the property of your dreams.

Our informal online survey revealed that 56% of the LANDTHINK audience is VERY UNLIKELY to buy land sight unseen. Only 18% said they would be SOMEWHAT LIKELY to buy land without even touring it, followed closely by 14% who indicated they were VERY LIKELY to buy land without visiting the property in person. Only 12% said they would be SOMEWHAT UNLIKELY to buy sight unseen.

Do you have a suggestion for next month’s Pulse question? Submit your question and we might choose yours!

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.

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LANDTHINK is part of the LANDFLIP network of sites and brings together the various components of the land industry and provides knowledge and information to land investors, owners and professionals to create a stronger land marketplace. Get land smart!

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