Buying land online is becoming increasingly popular, although not for the reasons you might think. The price of land in most states is relatively low, although slowly increasing, and a lot of people when they find a nice plot of land they will choose to buy the land online, without even visiting the plot. A plot of land in a nice location will be sold in a matter of days, although usually, companies are more prone to buying land online.
When buying land online you have to find out who the actual owner of the plot of land is, to do this look at the property tax records. Make sure to search for the same plot of land on several websites, until you find the listing that is the cheapest. Even if the plot of land has residential zoning, that doesn’t mean that a building permit will be issued, in this case, try to avoid areas that do not have utilities nearby as county officials will rarely issue a building permit if there are no nearby services or utilities.
Buying land online can be extremely fast and relatively easy as long as you already have the money for the downpayment or enough money to purchase the entire plot. The problem with buying land online is that it can be extremely risky if you don’t know what you are doing. Even people who have experience in buying land will rarely jump on buying land online, especially without checking it out.
The good news is that with a couple of online searches and phone calls to the local county officials you can have a clear idea of what the actual land is worth and if you can use it to build a house or not. If you want to buy land or property for off grid living then check out my recent article ( Top 12 Secrets ) To Buy Off Grid Land & Property.
Have A Clear Goal When Buying Land Online
While most people will jump on buying land online just because they got a bargain, I would not recommend you do this. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean that it will actually be useful for you. Think about what do you want to do with the plot of land, build a house, homestead, farm, etc. Once you have an idea of what you need to do on the plot of land it will be a lot easier to search for it online.
If you want to buy a plot of land in a specific area then do not get distracted by other listings in other states. If you want to know the most common mistakes when buying land then check out my recent article Buying Land Mistakes ( Top 9 ).
How To Search When Buying Land Online
The first thing that you need to understand is how the land or property listings work online. The truth is that the same piece of land will be listed on several websites and usually they will have different prices. The price for a plot of land can be different depending on your actual device, on mobile it could be cheaper, although on iOS it will be definitely higher than on Android phones. This will not be the case with every site, but it won’t hurt checking out the same listing on different devices.
The listings on different sites will usually have the same title, and you can easily find every site that has the plot of land listed by simply searching for the title on google. For example, if the title is Florida land 7 acres sold by owner, then search on google for “Florida land 7 acres sold by owner”. This way you will be able to find the cheapest price for the land.
Don’t Rely On Loans When Buying Land Online
If you do not have enough money to buy the plot of land online then I wouldn’t even recommend you to go through this route. There are way too many people who are looking to buy land and rely on loans, but people who have the money upfront have a lot of power when it comes to negotiating the actual price. The last thing that you would want to do is to go into massive debt just because you like the land, especially if you also want to build a house. If you want to buy land in Florida then check out my recent article Buying Land In Florida ( Top 10 Things You Should Know ).
Avoiding Scams While Buying Land Online
Buying land online can be extremely risky, there are a lot of scams and if you do not spot them you might end up without the plot of land and without your money. The first and most important thing that you need to do is to find out who actually owns the plot of land. To do this simply look at the property tax records, and you will also learn at what price the actual plot of land is valued. Based on this information you can find out if the seller has the right to sell it from the owner or if the actual owner is the one who is selling it.
Find The Zoning For The Land
Once you have found a nice plot of land and you are starting to get interested then you should check the zoning that is applied for the plot of land. If you want to build a house then the plot of land should be zoned for residential or mixed use. It is extremely important to find where these residential and mixed use zones actually are, usually, these are smaller plots and they can be located anywhere on the plot of land.
Have Legal Road Access
If the plot of land is away from a busy road then odds are that the actual road to the land is owned by somebody else. You have to find out if you are legally allowed to use that road, and who actually owns it. If there is no road access to the plot of land, not even a dirt road, and you will have to cross private land in order to access the plot of land then I would not recommend you to buy it.
Make Sure That The Land Has Access To Utilities
You can make an idea of how far the utilities from the plot of land are by simply watching satellite images, if there are houses nearby then usually they will have access to utilities. If there is no access to utilities and the nearest house is miles away then you will need to make a significant investment. You can use this info as a bargaining chip, or simply refuse to buy the plot of land without having utilities.
Know The Housing Restrictions Before Buying Land Online
Most residential areas will have some restrictions when it comes to housing, these can be restrictions from the local county or from the local HOA. Usually, there will be a limit on how small a house can be, and this will impact how you can actually use the plot of land. Certain HOA’s or counties will not allow alternative housing like rv’s, tiny houses, modular homes, and so on, so make sure that you are actually allowed to build the type of house that you want on the plot of land.
Avoid Land That Will Be Rezoned
There are a lot of land and property listings that do not have the required zoning to build a house. Usually, the sellers will claim that once you have bought the plot of land you can simply rezone it. The truth is that this will rarely happen, the seller knows he would get much more money from the plot of land if it would have the right zoning, so it is a no brainer that he would rezone it. The simple fact that he is trying to sell it without rezoning it first, usually means that he can’t rezone it.
Ask The Local Officials If They Will Issue A Building Permit For The Plot of Land
Even if the plot of land is zoned for residential or for mixed-use that doesn’t guarantee that you will actually get a building permit. Counties will not issue building permits to areas where they can not provide services and utilities, so if the plot of land doesn’t have access to utilities make sure to ask if they would in fact issue a building permit for that location. This is why you will see the same plot of land being sold over and over again over for several years, they simply can not use it.
- Make sure to find all the listings for the same plot of land, this way you will find the cheapest one.
- If the seller claims that the plot of land can be rezoned, then simply move on, this will rarely happen.
- Residential zoning for the plot of land doesn’t mean that the county officials will actually issue a permit.