Land Buying Tips and Information

As a Realtor and a Registered Forester I have some qualifications to write about buying and selling rural real estate primarily land. I have sold thousands of acres as a Realtor and managed hundreds of thousands as a Forester since 1973.

If you are considering buying rural land this article may help you with some good tips and information. The points below will give you some basic information and insight into what you need to look for as well as look out for in a land purchase.

Kind of Land. Do you want a farm, timberland, development potential, home site, hunting, agricultural use? One tract of land can rarely be all of these. Think what you plan and seek from there. Of course most tracts will have multiple uses but sometimes there are local use restrictions to consider.

Access. Hopefully you will have highway frontage for access. Some tracts may have only an easement. If so, look at the deeded easement layout and the width of it. A 20′ wide easement to a property that you later want to develop is a major negative if the county requires for instance a 50′ wide access easement for a street.

Utilities. Water of course is critical but for drinking and livestock. Is there an accessible waterline? If not what are the costs of a drilled well in the area and is there water quality problems in the ground water? Will there be water in a drought? Is there a creek for livestock and does it flow year around? Does anyone have the water rights? Is electric power available? Internet, cable, cell phone or land phone? Easy to check now, hard or impossible to get later.

Income from the property. As a forester I know the value of timber. When looking at rural land look closely at the timber and if there is a considerable amount have a local consulting forester appraise it for you. I have seen timber be worth as much as 3/4 of the value of an asking property price even in recent years. Make sure your purchase contract states that existing timber goes with the sale. It may have already been sold! Look at other income potential like hunting leases which can easily pay the property taxes and minor management costs. There are also agricultural leases. Always make sure the tract deed includes all mineral rights.

Making an Offer. Research what local sales have been on similar and nearby land. If you are not using a buyer representation Realtor you might want to consider one. Usually their fee is paid from the seller’s funds but not always so verify this. Check to see if land values are going up on down in the area. Allow yourself an inspection time and right to go on to the property by yourself or others you may hire to make inspections. Give yourself a way out of the contract if inspections fail. Make sure timber and minerals are included. Don’t make a low ball trying to steal it offer, you will just make the seller mad. Make a fair workable offer and go from there.

Closing. Use a real estate attorney to check title and close. They will know what to look for in deeds, easements and liens on the property. Ask the seller any questions you may have come up with and if they have any reports, old plats and maps that you can have. Ask about the history of the land before its lost as you may never see the seller again if they are moving away.

St Lucia Real Estate Tips: Adjusting to Volcanic Topography When Buying Land in St Lucia

I hear it everyday: “I want a great view” – this is the mantra of St Lucia real estate hunters. St Lucia is a volcanic island famous for dramatic mountains and panoramic sea vistas. Most houses are built on elevated hillsides and there are beautiful views from practically every inch of the island. This also means that property buyers may need to adjust to building and living on sloping land. This is one of the many interesting quirks of St Lucia real estate.

Thankfully, one need not be concerned about the steepness of slopes. Engineers know how to build structures to suit the topography of the island. In fact, some of the best views of the iconic Pitons are from buildings that are practically suspended in air. (The Pitons are twin volcanic plugs on the island’s south-west coast, which each tower almost 3000 feet above sea level. They form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) I am not saying you have to go that far! Hugging cliff sides is not everybody’s cup of tea. However, when viewing St Lucia land for sale, keep an open mind to plots of land which may seem steep at first.

It is wise to seek advice from one’s architects and engineers before purchasing a plot of land. Find out from your architect if your vision for your home can be executed on the site. Discuss how the placement of the house will take full advantage of the view while maximizing exposure to sunlight and air flow. The engineer will let you know what structural precautions need to be taken. The foundation design for instance, will be influenced by the gradient of the land and the type of soil present at the site. Drainage is also of key importance, given that the island experiences significant rainfall each year. Your team of professionals will advise on the proper drainage techniques for the management of rain water.

When shopping for St Lucia land for sale keep an image of your intended home in mind and have your professional team close by. If you are like most buyers, finding an awe-inspiring view is high up on your wish list. In order to get that view, you will have to adjust to living on sloping land. Flat land is a rare commodity in St Lucia and to have a bird’s-eye view, you have to ascend the hills. With a little vision and good advice you will find the right spot to make your dream home a reality!