8 Steps to Buying Land in NC
Buying land is quite different from buying residential property. Even if you’ve purchased a home in the past, you likely aren’t familiar with the land-buying process. Thinking of buying land in Burke or Caldwell County, NC? Here’s what you need to know.
Step 1: Determine what you want
First and foremost, take some time to consider what you want and need in a piece of land. How will you be using the land? Do you plan to build? Farm? Keep horses or livestock? Hunt or use the property for recreational purposes? Your intended use of the property plays a big role in the type of land, the size, and the location of the property you’ll ultimately buy.
Step 2: Find an agent
You aren’t required to use an agent when purchasing land, but it’s highly recommended that you do work with one, particularly if this is your first time buying land. A good local Realtor can help you through the complicated process of buying land—particularly in some of the more detailed areas. For example, an agent with experience in land purchases can help you find out more about zoning restrictions, construction or building restrictions, utility availability, road access, and more.
Step 3: Start searching for land
There are a number of ways to find available land for sale. You can start with online searches, like LandWatch or Land and Farm. You might also check local newspapers or magazines. However, this likely won’t provide a complete picture of all properties for sale in your area. A land-experienced local agent can provide a more in-depth list that includes “off-market” options that aren’t listed online or in print.
Step 4: Get your finances in order
During the land-search process, you want to pay your finances some attention. Purchasing land with a loan is often more difficult than purchasing residential property. It may be hard to procure a loan, and you may end up paying a much larger down payment—like 50% or 60%. If possible, it’s recommended that you pay in cash. However, for moderate- to low-income buyers, the USDA offers a variety of loan options and assistance.
Step 5: Make an offer
When you find a piece of land that works for your needs, it’s time to make an offer. This offer must be in writing, and it should state the offered price for the land, as well as any requested contingencies. These contingencies might include environmental tests, surveys, and zoning checks. If you’re not sure how to properly construct the offer, or which contingencies you should include, it’s highly recommended that you enlist the help of an agent.
Step 6: Get tests and surveys done
One of the most important aspects to buying land is ensuring it’s properly surveyed and inspected. The last thing you want to do is to buy a property, only to realize that the soil is too moist for building or local zoning restrictions prohibit construction or recreational use. Before closing on the land, you should have a variety of environmental tests done, such as soil contamination and moisture tests. Surveying the property is another essential step, as is checking zoning, elevation, topography, road access, and utility access.
Step 7: Check the title
As with a residential home purchase, a title search is imperative when buying land. A title search determines whether there are any special assessments, restrictions, or easements on the property. This ensures no one else has claim to the land, and no third parties have the right to use the property. An attorney can help with this step.
Step 8: Pay & close
Last but not least, it’s time to close! You may want to do a final “walkthrough” or tour of the property before closing day. Then, you’ll make your payment for the property or the down payment for your loan, likely in a wire transfer or cashier’s check. You’ll sign any final paperwork and record the deed. Congratulations; you’re now a land owner!
Buying Land in Western North Carolina?
Thinking about buying land in Burke or Caldwell counties but not sure where to start? We can help! Carolina Timber and Land is an experienced North Carolina real estate team that deals exclusively in the purchase and sale of land. If you’re looking for land, we’re here for you. Contact us today and let’s get started.