Investing in Country Properties? Questions to Ask Before You Buy

Posted on: 31 July 2020

Country property, or undeveloped land, is land that hasn't been built on. It might be for farm use, recreation, or left raw for future development. Buying land is a great investment because you can usually purchase it at a lower cost and sell it for much higher. Before you invest, it's vital to uncover as much information about a property as possible. 

In this article, you'll discover three of the most essential questions to consider before purchasing country properties.

Why Is the Land Vacant?

Asking why the land is vacant will uncover important information you must know about a property. Many land sellers are motivated to sell because the property doesn't produce income. It may be vacant because you are legally or physically restricted from development. Land that isn't useful may not be zoned as commercial or residential when you need it for those purposes. Land can also be too rocky or hilly to be usable. Other restrictions include if your property is partially protected such as with a historic gravesite or wetland.

It is possible to get the land rezoned, but this is an extra time and cost investment. Use Google Earth to view the property bounds from above before you visit.

Are the Land Surveys and Deeds up to Date? 

Land deeds and surveys can be several decades old. In that time, the government or neighbors could have edged in on the property lines reducing the acreage. Land easements are a popular way owners lose property without their knowledge. Neighbors or squatters can be granted legal ownership of a portion of your property if they've been using it for several years without dispute.

Narrow plots or oddly shaped property may not be best investment as it limits the potential for development. An updated land survey will display any lost acreage and easements on the property. 

Will the Land Give You a Return on Your Investment?

One of the most important considerations when buying property is the return on your investment. This is dictated by your intended usage of the property. If for recreation, you'd have to consider if the property is suitable for people and animals and how it will generate income. If the land is farmland, you'll have to consider proximity to water sources, soil conditions, and weather. If your hopes are to divide the land and sell to developers, that land is only valuable if it can be developed. Note that raw land is difficult to finance and comes with fewer tax advantages. Consider whether it's worth the time it takes to generate income while also incurring property taxes.

Consult with local governments, land developers, and experienced professionals in the area so you can have more information on whether the land you are purchasing is a viable investment. Speak with a real estate agent that can show you available country properties.