Buying Land

Visiting a Property in Person is Important: Here’s What to Look For

Visiting a Property in Person is Important: Here's What to Look For

Going online is certainly important when buying recreational land for sale, whether it’s reviewing photos of the site, looking into nearby spots for outdoor activities like fishing, hiking or boating, or learning more about the wildlife in the area.

But it’s still important to visit a property before you make an offer, unless you’re a neighbor or already know the property well. The key in making a successful purchase is being confident that the land is a good match with your objectives, which means you should see it.

With this in mind, here are six things to focus on as you walk the property:

  • Look at food sources, tracks, and water sources to learn more about the quality of wildlife on the property. This will help you determine what steps you may want to take to improve the property over time, while assessing its quality for hunting now.
  • Make sure the property has the level of access you’ll need for the activities you plan to do. Will the entrance roads be passable in the winter, or after a lot of rain? And will the access be sufficient if you decide to build on the property?
  • Review the stands of trees on the property, learning about the trees’ overall health, when they will mature, and how the timber and underbrush work as cover for wildlife. Whether you are looking at the timber as an investment or not, the health of the forest is important.
  • Learn about the trail system through the property and how the trails connect to other properties. This is important as you gauge opportunities for riding ATVs, or for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in Northern areas.
  • Check out neighboring properties. Are they aesthetically pleasing, and do the neighbors use quality timber practices and sufficient fencing? Also, are neighbors encroaching on the subject property with a structure, junk, or anything else that would encumber the property you are interested in acquiring?
  • See how close utilities are, in case you want to build a cabin. Even if a map shows that a power pole is nearby, you’ll need to see if there would be any challenges in getting power to your homesite.

How long should you plan to spend on a site visit? Every property is different, but as one rule of thumb, I suggest taking two hours to walk a 20-acre parcel.

If you are interested in buying a property in 2018, it’s a good idea to start the process now. Find a reputable, knowledgeable broker who specializes in recreational property sales. Do your homework online, but also go ahead and work with the broker to narrow your choices and schedule a visit to see the top sites in person.

The process can be done quickly and efficiently, but don’t take shortcuts. After all, you will want to find the perfect property for you and your family and friends. So seeing the property – and learning everything you can about it – is important.

Written by Tom Moore, agent/owner of Northwest Land & Lifestyle Properties near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a member of the PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker Network.

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About the author


As one of the top 10 landowners in the United States, managing nearly 2 million acres, PotlatchDeltic is committed to passing well-managed forest land on to future generations. A small percentage of our overall ownership is available and sold exclusively through a Preferred Broker Network in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota, Louisiana and Mississippi. Recreational, hunting and timberland opportunities range in size from 10 to over 200 acres with something available for every budget. Whether buyers are looking at land as an investment, for personal recreation, for a first or second home or because of the memories that can be made on it, the PotlatchDeltic teams brings together foresters, land managers and real estate experts who can guarantee each buyer finds the right property, at the right price, in the right time.


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  • This is so true. If you are unsure of your land purchase, you have to perform an ocular inspection so that you’ll be sure that you didn’t miss anything prior to your purchase.

  • Good read, great info.. Thanks for sharing. Might want to check w/ local city/county for any “proposed” ordinance that may effect future values and/or your goals for the property.

Pulse Question

Should game wardens have the right to search and surveil private property without a warrant?


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