The repopulation of rural America is real. Over the past few years, a perfect storm of factors has enhanced rural appeal, and that demand supercharged an already hot land market. Low land inventory has made it one of the most challenging times ever for land buyers. Attempting to buy rural land in the current market can feel impossible, and it can happen that the property you love and want to buy is suddenly under contract. Seeing your dream land listed as “under contract” can be crushing, but don’t give up hope. Someone else got there first, but it doesn’t mean you are completely out of the running. I’ve had clients experience this setback on several occasions, but, in spite of the odds, we have found ways to successfully buy the land that they desired.
Buy the Contract
If you’re really set on the land, one way to approach this scenario is to “buy the contract”. With this method, you pay the current contract holder an amount of money to assign their interest in the contract to you. It’s wise to be cognizant that you assume all their obligations under the contract. If the existing contract is not assignable, it may take an inducement to the seller as well to agree to modify the original contract. It’s recommend that you use a real estate attorney to review the agreement you plan on signing to make sure it is worded correctly.
Submit a Backup Contract
When the land you want to buy is already under contract, another tactic that can be considered is the practice of submitting what’s known as a “backup offer.” A backup offer is a legally binding contract in which an interested buyer offers to purchase the property at a certain price, under certain terms, if the primary offer falls through. By securing the second spot in line, you might very well end up buying the land you want to own. An accepted backup offer is an executed contract that needs to be followed just like the first accepted offer. If you are unsure of any aspect of the purchase contract, you should consult a real estate attorney. As in many things in life, sometimes the key to winning is not giving up.
It can be challenging to navigate a competitive market. Securing representation is the best way to ensure a smooth land transaction. Work with a rural land agent whom you trust; they will help guide you through each step of the process. Stay confident, stay calm, and trust in the fact that if it’s meant to happen, it will.
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