For many, owning a homestead or vacation cabin far away from big city bustle is a lifelong dream. Every year, many hunters, hobby farmers and retirees begin the search for that perfect spread of rural acerage. And even in turbulent real estate markets, the availability of rural land parcels is fairly constant. However, the people selling rural land may be shut off from the mainstream, or may not have the skills or resources required to market their for-sale land online. This can make it challenging to locate rural land for sale.
Decide where you want to buy land. This will be completely dependent on your interests and needs. Are you buying land for hunting? Hobby farming? Relaxing? Try to narrow it down below the regional level. Download a map and choose a few small towns that look like promising starting points.
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Get a local newspaper. Let's say you have decided to look for land around Exampletown, Minnesota. Do an Internet search for "newspapers in Exampletown MN" or "newspapers near Exampletown MN" and you will be able to find contact information for the nearest newspaper. A lot of small-town newspapers do not have online editions, so call them up and ask how you can order a hard copy of their latest issue by mail. The smallest rural papers will not be set up to accept credit card payments over the phone, so be prepared to take down an address and mail a check.
Go through the classified ads in the newspaper. Many landowners in rural areas, such as previous-generation farmers, have limited computer literacy, and many rural communities still prefer more "old-school" methods of communication and forum. Because of this, you can find land listings in the newspaper that can't be found anywhere online or through realtors.
Start making calls. Even if you don't find the perfect listing in the classifieds, you can get in contact with a local real estate agent and have them keep an eye out for rural parcels that match your needs. The smaller market and slower pace of the real estate sector in rural settings gives you a good chance of making contact with somebody who will listen to your specific needs, remember them, and go out of their way to help you.
Plan a trip to the area. Ideally, you will have some promising leads at this point and can make plans to visit two or three specific parcels of land. But make sure to leave yourself an extra day or two for "exploring." Rural areas tend to be full of "for sale by owner" signs, and you may very well stumble across the perfect piece of for-sale acerage that isn't listed anywhere.
Getting pre-approved by a bank before making a visit to the area in which you want to buy land will let landowners know that you're serious about purchasing land, and that you're not just some tourist "kicking tires" and wasting their time.
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