Things to Know when Buying Land

Another subject we covered in our visit with Tyler  the other night .

What are some things to think about when you are looking for land , or getting ready to actually buy it?

First , it is a good idea to know what you want and then think about what you  actually need and can afford!

First advice – buy your land and pay it off as quickly as possible, and then be sure to pay your land taxes immediately each year! Here in Arkansas land can go to auction if taxes are two years delinquent. If you are on land that is paid for and you keep your taxes up – you have a place to live and can raise food .

RECORD ANY PAPER WORK ASSOCIATED WITH THE LAND !  You can do this at the County clerks office for a small fee- and it is an important protection for you and your family. (It covers your B***! )

What to look for when buying? Well First what do you want to do with your land? Are you looking to live simply – raising your own food and livestock – or do you want to have a CSA , or raise organic  beef – each has a different need. Will you have to work of the farm  for a while to pay for it , or can you stay there right away and begin developing it ? Do you want rural electric and water , or do you plan on going off grid immediately? Do you plan on tenting while you build – or living in an RV? or do you plan to refurbish an older home ?

Basic needs are clear title- Insist on a title search with Title insurance prior to closing . What is this ?

It is a legal record search , to be sure there are no outstanding debts or succession claims against the land you look to buy. The abstract company “insures ” that they have done a through search of the archives and they warranty that the land is free of debt and impediment. If something turns up later – the they are the ones who have to deal with it.

Another need is a survey before closing- the cost is usually split between buyer and seller. A surveyor will mark your corners and record them all. Any dispute should show up at this time – be sure it is cleared before closing.

Land Taxes – check at the county clerks office to be sure they are up to date and have in writing who is responsible for the remainder of the year you are buying in .

If you are buying from a private party rather than a bank loan- i.e. owner financing- have it put with an escrow company. It is a legal holding company – they accept your payments – and send it on to the seller – they also hold the deed while the land is being paid for. This protects both of you.

Now on to the nuts and bolts ta da!

What to check out about the and you are buying …

Access – be sure you have LEGAL access to your place- if you cross another persons land and it is not an established county road – be sure there is a written ,NOTARIZED Right of Way . Too many folks end up in disputes over this. Also be aware of weather issues – how tough is it to get in and out in bad weather- flood time , snow or ice?


Water- Rural water, well or spring?

Rural water now requires that there be an existing septic system before they will bring lines in – you also will need right of way form anyone whose property the line has to cross. (Same guidelines apply for electric) This is due to Federal Regulation .

Wells- most local wells in our area have to 600-800 feet to avoid Sulphur water – you will probably expect to do pump maintenance every five years or so – this involves  pulling the pump – can get expensive…

Spring water- if you are blessed with a year round spring – you are fortunate-but if you live near any large livestock holdings it will most likely have high levels of ecoli – it will be unusable . so be sure to have it tested routinely-  The county health agency can do this for a fee.

Storage- this is a big thing – good dry storage –

It can protect your building supplies , precious items that you are storing “until the house  is built”.

There are many, many,  other things to think about , but these are a few of the basics- hope this helps


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