Texas is blessed with millions of acres of beautiful land. From the coastal prairies over to the Edward’s Plateau, from East Texas up to the Panhandle, Texas land makes for great wildlife habitat, recreation, and investment.
Buying property can be fun, but it can also be very frustrating. To make your land buying experience as pleasant as possible, do your homework before heading out to look at a bunch of beautiful Texas land. Here are a few tips that can help you and your agent in your land search. First, know what you want before contacting your local Texas real estate agent. Nothing is more frustrating for everyone involved than driving around looking at 50 acre properties when what you actually want is at least a 200 acre ranch. Do you need to be within 60 minutes of Austin? Do you cook or eat out? Try to narrow as many of these things down prior to contacting a real estate agent.
Have a realistic budget. Also, if you expect to secure a loan, keep in mind that lenders usually have more restrictive policies for lending on land purchases than for residential homes. Many will require 20 to 30% of the price as a down payment! If you can afford it, consider buying a larger parcel than you might have originally thought. The cost per acre is frequently less, and you can often subdivide these to lower your cost even further. Larger land parcels and ranches are increasingly harder to find these days, which enhances their desirability.
Next, be prepared to spend some money every year maintaining your property. Unless you are buying timberland or some kind of property with a mineral right or saleable asset, land has a carrying cost every year. Taxes are a sure thing, but management activities such as clearing, mowing, or plowing can eat away at a budget. If you are in an association of some sore, dues and assessments may also cost you on an annual basis.
Comparison shop. This is a must. You may be surprised (pleasantly or otherwise) when you head out into the real estate market, but make sure you look around. What you will find is that some sellers ask unrealistic prices because they are waiting for that one buyer who will pay nearly any price for their property. And guess what? Occasionally this happens! Check comparable sales in the area for the last 1 to 2 years to get an idea of where the property should be priced. Just be patient. Remember that you do not have to buy immediately.
Surround yourself with good people. Hire an experienced realtor. Make sure your Texas real estate agent has a wide variety of knowledge about land and also the resources to find those properties that meet your needs. If you plan on building, make sure you have the contractors, engineers, excavators, and other experienced professionals you need to complete your project within the time frame you have budgeted.