So you are looking to invest in some land at some nice easy starting prices, but you also want quality correct? Who doesn't after all, nobody wants a junk lot of land even if it's say $3000 dollars. The thing is, the word cheap can throw people off because they don't always think in terms of price, but of cheap meaning quality. However, you can get very good quality land for a very low cost, making it a great investment. But you need to be careful, it is not always what it seems in the world of buying low cost land. We will show you how to find good quality cheap land and things to avoid when looking.
How to Find Cheap Land for Sale, What to Avoid and Where to Look.
Finding Trust Worth Places to Find The Land
There are land sites, real estate sites, private sellers, wholesalers and real estate agent options out there. But all these options need different strategies, have big cost differences and can even leave you with bad deals.
Land Websites - Websites that are brand named and focus on land are usually good options. There are a few in the business that focus directly on lower cost land, however quality is debatable between each website. Also cost can fluctuate greatly for land pretty much right next to each other. Especially when it comes to down payments, interest rates, closing costs for recording and other things. Not to toot our own horn at LandZero but we really did start this site because of these issues. We only wanted to show land we are excited about for investments. Also not destroy customers with excessive costs like APR rates or extra costs. Our inventory is smaller however because of this. Buying 30 or 40 small $50.00 lots to have inventory is just not our focus. We really only want land we tend to brag about having ourselves.
Overall, there are a few good sites and you can judge the cost and terms for yourself. These companies are backed by LLC's and run their business solely with the goal of staying in business by providing good service.
Real Estate Sites - Basically we are talking about websites like Zillow. There are a few really big websites and you probably know them. You can look around on there and select land only. Even set a price range within your budget in a focused area you like. While these can be a good way to get a price range of the area. You should know, this will often have a mix of real estate companies, for sale by owners and even land website companies like ours. So, the issues with these are, it is not always clear who is selling the land. Also descriptions can be very limited and you have to go though a huge contact process only to find out the price was listed wrong or something. It's a great way to get price ideas but it can be hard process for buying.
Private Sellers - For this we are not necessarily talking about your average land owner doing a for sale by owner. Someone who has owned it in the family and just want's to sell it. But here we are talking about private sellers who do this land selling for a living or side gig. These guys and gals will usually use websites where they pay to list on there. It will just be a persons name, but it is what they do and it is up to them on how they run themselves. While you can find some good ones, we ran into serious issues with a few a long time ago.
Back when I did not own a business to sell land but was just an average buyer I ran into a few people like this. Well, as you can guess I was deceived and ended up with total junk. When I contacted the person to complain, they literally yelled at me and never responded again. This is because they have no business to answer to, just someone with a PO box. We also found a good one though, a nice gentleman that was fair and sold good land at a fair price. It was a great experience with him and it got me interested in land. So beware is all I can say.
- Wholesalers - If you are just browsing for land you may or may not run into a wholesaler. Some are on ebay or other sites but they pretty much buy giant plots for a discount and sell them one by one. These can be hit or miss depending on the person or company. Overall, you wouldn't know unless you wanted to buy many lots of land and develop a relationship. Some of them can be found on auction sites and sometimes they only sell to investors. Also they tend to attend and buy on county tax sales. Which is complicated to explain in this article.
Real Estate Agents - Sometimes when the land gets to be about $3000 or $5000 you may catch the person selling it represented by an agent. Well, say the property is $5000 and looks like a pretty good deal. Well, expect additional costs of about $2000+ on top of the listing price. Even if you opt out of title insurance or other options. They will make you do escrow, notaries, pay the agent cost, lawyer cost and so many other different add on costs. It can be a terrible experience, especially when you see the same type of land on our site with a lower listing price and no closing costs later.
For cheap property some people think well, when I would buy a home I would get title insurance. Of course you would with a home because you are spending $300k or so. But with land in the cheap price range it's not really as necessary until a certain point. Remember, title insurance is used to get a mortgage or a loan to purchase the property as a requirement. Yes it claims you have no title issues in ownership but so does the type of deed a person or company writes you. You can always get insurance later before you build on the land which you should. This is also required for building loans usually. But you can do this directly with a title company instead of paying for it during closing at the time. Reputable land companies sell and deed land without encumbrances. So your deed basically gives your legal rights to the land. You should also avoid certain deeds like a quit claim deed if you don't know what you are doing. Also some land has periods you would need to wait to get title insurance, this would be because it came from a tax sale. The land is still yours but title insurance companies do this. You can use a title clearing company if you want to do this right away.
What To Look For in the Cheap Land.
Like we said, cheap land is by no means junk. Yes you can get junk for cheap if you go the wrong route. But low cost land goes up in value too and can do some serious turn arounds if you choose correctly. Just for an example, we were selling lots in a very upper scale community with a 10 school rating, extremely safe, million dollar lake homes, boating, fishing and a resort on it. But we were only selling them for $3k to $6k. Strange right? Well there was some HOA that made building difficult for 10 plus years. People fire sold their lots after getting tired of that. Then the HOA took away these difficult restrictions and prices starting climbing quick. Cheap land without a doubt can be really good. Here are some basic things to research though which should help.
Does it Fit Your Use
This is really the most important thing, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people have the luxury residential building site in mind like we just talked about. However, some people want those 5 to 10 acres off the grid to live on. These can be in beautiful remote areas with pines or a desert landscape with mountain views. First thing is first, does it interest you, fit your future needs and have the right price for your range.
Are they giving a good description of the Land
The most frustrating thing we saw on all types of sites was limited pictures and descriptions. You may see something like and that is all!
So.. okay. There is a picture of trees and this is the total description. Not much research went into this did it. Also what on earth is a "Tbd" to be determined St, at least put the legal description.
Websites that give good description without having to call have really looked into a property. This can be hours to days of research and even driving. We put a lot of details into our listings, yes it takes a long time but we like our land and the descriptions show that. With cheap land, you still need to do due diligence and we have a disclaimer about that. Every land seller does, because county websites can have mistakes or the use may not be what you expected but what do we know what you expect. So, call the county and ask the questions you have. Even with real estate agents they expect you to know the same thing, that is why you would get an agent that represents you. Which doesn't make sense with cheap land.Deeds, Building Uses and Utilities
Cheap lower cost land is never some giant ranch overlooking the ocean in California with septic tank, water wells and stuff like that. While yes, it will be in some very cool areas that are growing or even have lake views. They have major opportunity to grow in value or interest another buyer down the line for double the price or more. You need to know some basic things and if they work for you. Because it's not some million dollar priced ocean view land you can have the worlds top agent help you look into.
Deeds - We have articles about this but at least look up what deeds are good to get when buying land or real estate. Each state is different but you should seek deeds that are protective to you. Say you find a private seller like we talked about and he doesn't say anything about the deed, you may be new and not think of it at all. So you pay him by bank transfer and end up with a quit claim deed. Well you may be screwed now, you might not own this land and you may end up with someones liens. So ask what deed comes with the land and look it up on google, there are only a handful of deed types!
Building Uses - If you plan to build or even hold it for that matter make sure the land use and building options work for you. A selling site will put residential or recreational at least. But a lot can be residential and have some strange requirements by the city or county. This may be no problem but land selling sites and agents don't know this all the time. You can contact the building division in the county or city. Usually there is not issues and it works for many building needs but it's best to get an idea first. Also if you need a building loan, you will have to get title insurance first. Some cheap land will be on a waiting period to get that. Some are one year to three years. Cheap land can be funky like that, you can always get it but there may be some time or hoop to jump though. As long as you got it from a reputable site you will be fine and will get this immediately or within a short period. Ask the company or person selling the land.
Utilities - Sometime this is very important, sometimes it is not. We found this depends on the person and the land type. A nice subdivision, yes they want them but a rural area they are ready to live off grid or do a well and draw power. Either way, you can find this out by calling an HOA, County or City. Some lots may be fully ready with utilities on the lot. Some you may need to pay to get them there, which can be cheap or expensive. Also remember, things are changing with utilities as technology advances. Solar is becoming way better, water wells are better, catchment takes are better, Internet is going satellite global. Soon it will be no different being away from the cities grid.
We hope this article helps take you in the right direction. Investing in affordable land (cheap land) is a beautiful opportunity to start investing in real estate, living mortgage free or building a home you designed.