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9 Ways to Navigate Buying Land for Construction or Recreation

Date: 
Author: 
Compeer Financial
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Articles
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Timber
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Whether you’re looking to purchase land for recreation or as a place on which to build your dream home, taking the right steps before purchasing a property can prevent big hassles in the future. Below are nine ways you can make sure the property is the right fit for your needs before buying.
  1. Look at your property from multiple angles. Get online to check out the satellite view of the property. This view sometimes makes it easier to identify items you can’t see at the street level, such as a train track a few streets over.
  2. Make sure you can use the property the way to want to. You don’t want to buy the perfect property for your dream home only to discover that residential building isn’t allowed. Carefully go over all zoning subdivision, covenants and other restrictions before buying.
  3. Research potential environmental or historical conditions. Find out if an environmental survey of the land has been done. If not, consider having one done if it is an undeveloped parcel or the previous site of activity that could lead to unwanted environmental conditions.
  4. Always conduct a land survey and obtain title insurance. Don’t rely solely on the legal description of lot lines and acreage cited in the seller’s deed. Evaluating deeds against up-to-date land surveys will ensure you catch discrepancies, whether the changes occurred in recent years or the source deed was written more than 100 years ago when surveying methods where different.
  5. Research potential boundary disputes. While your survey can show lot line encroachments to help avoid this issue, you still should investigate whether there are any potential boundary disputes on the property.
  6. Investigate mineral and logging rights. Did you know that someone else can own the mineral or logging rights to a plot of land that you’re interested in buying? Make sure you understand who has the mineral and logging rights before you make a purchase.
  7. Check for liens or encumbrances. It is essential that you check to make sure you won’t be acquiring any liens or encumbrances with your new land.
  8. Research the property in person, online and via phone. Call the seller, visit the land and meet the neighbors to learn more about the property and make sure it is exactly what you’re expecting. You’ll want to confirm the status of infrastructure and utilities, review roads and access, research restrictions and site limitations, and verify the area of the property.
  9. Confirm access before buying. Have an attorney review a current survey to confirm your access to a public road. If the property relies on easements across neighboring land, review those documents with an attorney to ensure that you have all the access you need.
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