Check List For Land Buyers

A checklist for buying land


Silas Deane of Alliance Real Estate, Auctions and Estate Services in Owensboro, Ky., is a successful realtor dealing in rural properties. He has sold $millions of dollars worth of farms and rural property over the past 30 years. He understands the thought process of buyers.


~          Mind-set. Do you need to be near civilization?

Country air is fine, but location is key to scratch the occasional itch for a restaurant in the city. If you don’t need to go the store every day or take the kids to practice, the prices are much cheaper further from the city.

~          Life stage. Put schools at the top of your search list if you have children. A country school with small classrooms is appealing. There are many fine rural schools in our area, but consolidation in most counties means long bus rides for many rural students.

~          Access. Property fronting a hard-surfaced road is best. But access to gravel rods or even just an easement or right-of-way may look ok – until it’s time to resell….

~          Activity. What do you want to do on your acre­age? Country living doesn’t mean life without rules. If you want livestock or horses, check out the zoning laws. Many rural communities will continue to carry on farming operations like cattle, confined hogs or chicken houses. Be sure you will fit in because it is not their responsibility to change if you move nearby. Don’t forget to look for any restrictive covenants.

~          Soundness. If you are buying land for a home, make sure the soil is suitable. As the Bible says— and we paraphrase—build your home on solid ground. In our area reclaimed strip mine property is very pretty and often priced cheaply. It may not be suitable for the foundation of a home. Be sure to get professional advice before you buy. For the health of your septic system, make sure the soil drains well.

~          Future. Think carefully if you are buying prop­erty with visions of a retirement windfall. Zoning laws change. In Deane’s home county it is almost impossible to sell a smaller tract off your land unless you have lots and lots of road frontage to give up. Wetlands, Flood Zones, Reclaimed land, frontage, access, mineral rights, crop bases and ascetic value often impact the future value of land.