Buying Undeveloped Land: 3 Tips For First-Timers

10 January 2020
 Categories: Real Estate, Blog

If you are thinking of buying undeveloped land to build your own home or business, you will soon find out that the process is quite different from that of buying land that already has a structure on it. Mostly, you will have to do a lot more digging and investigating before buying land for sale. Here are some tips to help you out during that stage when you're still trying to search for properties, figure out what each has to offer, and make your selections.

1. Extend your search outside the MLS.

Most properties for sale are listed in the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, which real estate agents have access to. However, if you only look for land on the MLS, you might miss some options. Some property owners like to sell their land without the assistance of a real estate agent. These "for sale by owner" or "FSBO" properties may be advertised in local newspapers or on online classified sites but not on the MLS. Sometimes a sign in the front is the only advertisement for land for sale. So to ensure you don't miss any options, browse the local papers and take a drive around the area where you would like to buy.

2. Look at local zoning maps.

When you come across a listing, you will often see pictures of the property, but it can be hard to designate exactly where the property lines are if this information is not included in the ad. A good way to find out is to look up the town's zoning maps. You should be able to then see a clear outline of the plot of land you are thinking of buying. 

3. If the plot is too large, inquire about sub-dividing.

Say you want a 20-acre plot of land. You find a piece of land in the right location, but it is 40 acres. Don't just move on and try to find a smaller piece. First, inquire whether the owner would be willing to sub-divide the land, selling you 20 acres and another buyer the remaining 20 acres. Often, a seller can make more by subdividing land, so they will often be open to this option. You may have to pay a little more than half the asking price for the whole plot, but you'll have your perfect property.

With the tips above, your experience with buying land should be a successful one.