The amount of press farmland has received in the last year could fill a few bookshelves. It is amazing that a real estate category that typically turns over at rate of about 3% which is now turning at half that has so much exposure and analysis. So what about all the other land? Recreational land, building land, vacant lots, or any other rural land? What is happening in that market? There seems to be no press and buyers are thrilled.
If you are in the market for land for recreational use or as a building site then now is the time to search. Farmland that may have been split up and converted to transitional development land is a good start. Prices are usually reasonable and tend to mirror more of the residential market values. Interestingly, farmland has historically and is also now the case, not run concurrent with residential market values. The run-ups in values have usually occurred when other sectors are doing poorly so take advantage of market conditions and prices.
If you are looking for a relatively small plot of land; say about 20 acres or less, then a great place to start looking is LOTFLIP. It is easier to find what you are looking for when the search parameters are already filtered for you.
If you have a specific area and have narrowed down your requirements and still cannot find anything suitable then search all land listings in the area. If you find a larger tract and only want a portion then contact the agent and make an offer for a split. Many times if you are willing to pay for the survey on the split portion or share in the split costs then a seller is more open to the possibility. Sometimes they will say no immediately and adamantly state they are not going to split the land. In that case, go ahead and leave your name and number as often times after they think about it they will re-consider.
Other options include finding two or three small lots (1 to 2 acres) and trying to buy simultaneously so that you have a larger piece. In many failed rural subdivisions this is usually fairly easy to do because you can contact the Homeowners Association (HOA) and ask if anyone is interested in selling their lots. Every time we have listed lots in rural subdivisions almost immediately the adjoining sellers will contact us and let us know they are interested in selling too. However, make sure you find out all the rules and regulations of the HOA in advance because if they continue to charge fees on a per lot basis instead of your one continuous parcel it could be costly. Many HOA subdivisions will work with buyers and may even change rules if necessary because they want the land sold to a buyer that will maintain the land.
Whatever you are looking for in a land parcel be sure to do your homework. Some sage advice from Jonathon Goode in his recent article, Why Hire a Land Agent when Dealing with a Neighbor and many other articles on LANDTHINK are good resources.
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