I've written frequently on how to locate lease options, land contracts, etc. A Realtor may be a good place to start, but make sure that he/she goes beyond searching the MLS for "land contract" (or "lease option"). A couple of other suggestions: Properties that are listed both for rent and for sale are ideal candidates; the owner clearly doesn't need their equity out immediately. A land contract/lease option just combines the two approaches: renting and purchasing.
If that doesn't produce enough good leads, have your Realtor search for properties for sale with long DOM (days on market). Those owners may be willing to do a land contract. Similarly, look for properties for rent that aren't renting. Those owners may be willing to rent now and sell later.
To broaden your prospects even more, if necessary, use some non-Realtor strategies too. For instance, look on Craigslist for lease options, rent-to-own, land contracts, etc. Or post your own item under "Real Estate Wanted." Also, you can contact FSBOs (for sale by owner) properties. Especially in today's market, FSBOs don't do well. You'd be a live prospect with a solution to their problems.
To get really creative, identify an area you'd like to live in. Then do a direct mail campaign to that area.
And there are plenty of other ways, too.
As for timing, you'd probably be better off waiting until June or July. People who are open to land contracts probably want to do so quickly. (With a lease option, when an owner does that they're prepared to "rent" almost immediately.) You can try now, but you're likely to be most successful later this year. However, certainly use that time to determine what areas of Charlotte you'd like to live in, and to find a Realtor in the Charlotte area you think can meet your needs.
Hope that helps.
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I would almost recommend checking out which neighborhoods you think are cool based on the lifestyle you want and driving around for desirable lots. There are plenty of people out there who may be interested in selling whether they are listing their properties or not. Good luck! You will love the Charlotte weather I guarantee it.
What is the property zoned for?
Does the seller have builder restrictions?
Does the property have utility access (water, electricity, sewer)?
Soil quality and land topography could impact cost...get this checked.
Road access? Public or private?
If you wish to receive automatic updates on the land currently available in Charlotte and the new listings that may hit the market before September, just send me an email. I'll get the CMLS information forwarded directly to you.
Best of luck!