Alrighty… now that we have the money part out of the way with land let’s get down to business! The first thing you MUST understand about buying raw land is that it is not in any way shape or form like buying a house.
What I mean by that is, when buying a house you can look at 15 in a day if you start early and look for about a week and find something you like (sometimes due to circumstances that is not always how it goes but for us that is pretty much what happened). With land it is very different!!! A LOT of energy goes into finding land, the whole thing is really different.
The first questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Are you staying in your same area or moving to another area?
- Are you staying in the same state or moving to another state?
- If you are moving to another state, do you know anyone there?
- If you move to another state have you ever visited there before?
This is why I ask those questions. We moved to another state where, yes, we had family. First we moved to Colorado where I am from and have family. Well my husband had never been to the West before and the West is home to my heart – Colorado, the Rockies and just everything about it.
We moved in with family to save money (if you can it is a good temporary, and I MEAN temporary avenue but if we could have afforded it we probably would have rented something, but again we wanted to save money) just know that living alone and then moving in with family is yet a whole new set of stress that you might not want to encounter.
Long story short everything we loved in Colorado we could not afford and what we did like in our budget had been or was on fire (we were there during the Waldo Canyon Fire and we lived in Colorado Springs). That FREAKED my husband out and he wanted to head back east where there was more greenery and less fires. When you are married you have to keep in mind that you BOTH have to be happy in the long run and feel good about the place you have picked.
So we moved to Tennessee where he had family and I have friends. This much moving DOES put a stress on your marriage and yourself, consider yourself warned!
I will do another whole post about the stress of moving and the adjustment of this process but let me get back to land.
Landing in west Tennessee we figured, well… we are already here so let’s go ahead and look here for land. We did not spend too much energy looking in the Western part of TN. The area was nice but we BOTH have to feel good in a place.
I finally told my husband that we would compromise… He could have the rain and greenery but I HAD to have the Mountains period! So we started looking all over the northern part of TN. We looked from the Jackson area all the way over to Kings Port TN.
Of course we have narrowed our search down to the area about 45 min north of Knoxville. We are close enough to his family and my dad, step-mom, brother and other family live in NC (yep, half the family in CO and the other in NC) so we are close enough to most of our families.
I have spent months looking at properties online. One good thing to do when you are starting your search is once you figure out what state or areas you want to be in create a folder on your desktop and create sub folders to place links for the land that you like. Being organized during this time IS your best friend.
When you are packed or just in a transition mode the more organized you are the less stressed out you will feel.
I had a folder that was TN land, and then inside of that folder I had folders with the big cities that the land I liked was close to, Knoxville, Nashville, and Kings Port etc. Then I would dedicate at least 1-2 hours every morning looking for land online. Coping the links of places I liked and placing them in that particular folder.
After doing that for about 1 month in just TN alone I would pick one area, call each agent with the listings that I had picked and gotten detailed information about each property.
Here are the type of questions that you should be asking an agent:
- How many acres is this?
- How many neighbors are there?
- What are the property taxes?
- Does this piece have water? (P.S. If you live in some of the western states such as CO or Montana you have to purchase your water rights, that can be some money you might not have counted on needing to spend)
- Is this property surveyed?
- Does it already have septic?
- What are the restrictions?
- Does it have any easements?
- Is it in a flood zone?
- How long has this piece been on the market?
- What is the % commission? Depending on the state they do commission a little differently (some states the buyer pays commission and some states the seller pays commission and some states it is split…make SURE you ask)
Then take notes on each one. You can tell right away from the answers you get if that Realtor really knows their listings and how knowledgeable they are about the area.
What I did was highlight which Realtors were the most knowledgeable. Then the one with the personality I liked the best with the most knowledge, I would tell them I wanted to see that particular listing along with others, then set up a day to drive up and spend looking at properties.
Your Real Estate Agent needs to be knowledgeable and honest (yeah, yeah they all say they are however anyone in the business of sales is in the business of selling you something… it is their job). You need to feel like they are really listening to what you are looking for and by their actions you will know if they are just trying to sell you something or if they are invested in helping you find what you really want.
Some pieces that you loved online you might hate and some you were unsure about you might really love. You have to keep an open mind when you are looking. Make sure you take LOTS of note on each property and do not expect your agent to equip you with a pad and pen to make notes.
Next post we will go over the things that you NEED to be looking for when you go look at land. These are VERY important and make sure that you cross EVERY T and dot EVERY I because when you are leading this kind of lifestyle you are not looking to flip this property you are looking to live there forever (or darn close to it!).
With much love and blessings on YOUR Journey!
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