Purchasing a tract of land is a big deal. It’s not a decision to take lightly or pursue half-heartedly. Whether you’re buying as an investment or a place to enjoy recreationally, having a “game plan” allows you to clearly focus on your objective and effectively begin the buying process.
When shopping for a car or a house (or anything really) the first question you ask yourself is, “What do I like?” The second question you ask yourself is, “What can I afford?” Buying land is no different. In fact, answering these two questions is the first and most important part of the buying process.
So, what do you like? Ask yourself the following questions to better understand what you’re looking for.
“What am I going to do with the land?”
“Where do I want to be and how far am I willing to drive?”
“What characteristics and/or features am I looking for?”
“How small is too small, and how big is too big?”
Answering these questions will create a clear vision of what you want. And when you see a property online that fits your vision, you’ll be ready to go see it.
So, what can you afford? This question is just as important as the first, but far too often goes unanswered. Are you a cash buyer or will you be financing? In either case, you need to ask yourself what you’re willing and able to spend. If financing, you can determine your buying capacity by contacting a lender (be it a local bank or a farm credit agency). They can determine your credit-worthiness with minimal information needed and without affecting your credit. Most of the time, this pre-approval is good for up to 30 days.
Now you have your vision and your budget, so what’s next? The next step in your game plan is to contact a land professional that has property for sale in the area you’re interested in. Explain to him or her what you’re looking for and what you’re looking to spend. That way, they can help you find properties that fit your game plan and weed out the ones that don’t.
Simply put, having a plan in place makes you more prepared and the process much more effective.