Questions To Ask Before You Buy Land

If you decided to purchase land, you should start your research and due diligence process with the following 15 questions:

What is the Chain of Title? In other words, do you know who the seller/owner is? To determine if the property has a clear and concise title chain, you should always start by asking the seller to send you a copy of the deed. If they don’t have the deed on hand, you can check on the county’s website for the deed history.

What are Property Back Taxes? Once you’ve concluded who owns the parcel, your next step is to confirm the amount of back taxes, liens, or debts owed on the property (if any).

Is the Property in an HOA or POA? When you buy land, it’s important to know if the property you are going to purchase is part of an HOA/POA because they usually have an annual fee and their own restrictions and property use rules to be aware of.

What is Property Zoning? Is the lot buildable? What other construction is planned or possible on the surrounding land? Is this property agricultural, residential or commercial?

What Can You Use the Land For? The most common classifications of vacant land are recreational, residential, and undeveloped. It’s pretty important to follow the zoning requirements and HOA/POA rules.

Does the Property Have Utilities? It’s not common for vacant and rural properties to have utilities. If the property is part of a developed subdivision, chances are it will have access to at least power and water, but there will be a connection fee for activating them.

What Property Taxes do You Pay? Land is less expensive to hold over a long-term than most other real estate assets, like townhomes or apartment buildings. You still have to check the amount of annual property taxes before you buy it. You as the owner will still be responsible for property taxes.

Does the Land Have Common Facilities? It’s rare, but sometimes there are common facilities (water, septic, road, etc.), or common property that the homeowners or developer will need to manage.

How to Access the Property? Rural properties are great, and a lot of people really value the privacy they offer. But sometimes, these properties don’t have legal road access. That means you would technically have to trespass on a neighbor’s lot or on a private access route to get to your land.

Is the Property Where Wetlands Are Located? Wetlands don’t generally appeal to land buyers and investors. They’re either seasonally or permanently saturated with water and will contain marshes and swamps.

What is Property Size? It’s crucial to understand the size and shape of the parcel. It will let you know how much “stuff” you can build, or how much space you have to roam.

Is the Land Near a Conservation Easement? A conservation easement is a restriction placed on a piece of property to protect its resources. It’s is a legally binding agreement that can limit the landowner from planting, clearing, or hunting on certain areas of land.

Who Owns Mineral Rights to My Property? Mineral, Timber, and Water Rights to the land are often owned separate from the land itself.

Are There Any Water Features? A water feature can refer to a river, creek, lake, spring, pond, stream – a body of water that already exists on the property. A water feature can potentially increase the value of the property, or if it’s a wetland or marsh, potentially decrease the value.

Who are Your Neighbors? Who are the neighbors surrounding your lot? If you had to sell this property again in a year, is it desirable to other potential buyers?