How to Make an Offer on a Parcel of Land. When you make an offer on a parcel of land, you must consider many factors other than price.
Get an idea of what the property is worth. You can contact the county recorder's office to get a list of properties in the area and find out what they sold for, or you can read the local newspapers; often the paper will list recent sales, prices and dates.
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Contact a local real estate agent. The agent may be willing to give you a list of recent sales from the board of realtors if he or she is a member of the board. Be upfront: tell the agent you are interested in a parcel of land and you want to know how much it is worth.
Go to the county recorder's office or local escrow/title company and get information on liens recorded against the property.
Talk to property owners surrounding the parcel; they may have information the seller has not disclosed. If there is a problem with the parcel or area, neighboring owners are likely to know and very often are willing to share their information.
Go to the county planning department and see what the plans are for the area. Most counties have plans that extend several years into the future for development.
Write an offer on the land containing contingencies. Contingencies should allow for any inspection to be ordered - and paid for - by the buyer (you). Allow yourself enough time in the contract to get any desired inspections.
Make your offer subject to getting financing if you will be seeking a loan. Consider financing that will pay for both the purchase of the land and the construction of a residence.
Getting information on liens against the property will tell you if there are any easements (rights of way) on the property - such as gas or electric - or access for other parcels. It will also tell you if anyone owns the gas, oil or mineral rights to the property. If someone owns these rights - and they don't come with the property - you should check to see who owns them, how they can be used and under what circumstances. Contact the owner of the gas, oil and mineral rights and see if they want to sell them. If, as a result of inspections, you discover information that is unacceptable to you, a contingency in your offer allows you to back out without any recourse from the seller. Possible inspections include soil stability and geological conditions, well, septic, earthquake, flood, neighborhood, area, governmental restrictions and limitation, and zoning. If the parcel is in an area with a lot of vacant land, consider the zoning and potential use of surrounding and neighboring property. Loans for land are typically very difficult to find and often require a down payment of 30 to 50 percent of the purchase price.
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