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Steve Elsier, Other/Just Looking in Carlisle, PA

I'm a young professional who makes solid money but am looking to make an investment in land. (Hopefully selli

Asked by Steve Elsier, Carlisle, PA Tue Aug 14, 2007

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Land is the most complex form of real estate and carries the greatest level of risk. Be careful. If it's in a developed subdivision that's very different than a parcel in the middle of unchartered other property. Could be a gold mine, could be a leak in your financial bucket.

I specialize in land, in Florida. We have a variety of issues that must be cleared satisfactorily before any of our clients and investors will close on a property, no matter how good the deal seems at the time.

Somewhere in your state/county/city that governs this property there is probably a growth and planning commission. You should understand their entity and what their future plans are for the growth of the area where this property is located. There may also be a future land use associated with this property, you should understand what it is and how much trouble it might be to get it changed if you later had a buyer with a use different than what the government plans the future use will be.

For a nominal fee compared to what you will pay for the property, you should have a highest and best use study completed by a property appraiser. This will tell you if there is hidden value in the land that you (and the seller) might otherwise not recognize. If you discover the property is currently under utilized but is largely usable (this will come from an environmental study, topo, survey, and a soil test) then you'll have your map of what processes to go through to increase the value of the property with a small investment of time in permits and fees.

All real estate profits are made on the day you buy - you just don't get them until you sell. But land requires that you do a lot of homework! I can show you thousands of acres of worthless land that people purchased and lost 100% of their investments on because they can do nothing with it - they didn't know what they were buying.

An investment implies a return of your capital and a profit from it's use. Make sure you're buying an investment, not giving the government a larger gift of your paycheck.

Good luck. If you want specific advice, give us specific details and we can help you more.

P.S.: Land takes a lot longer to sell even in a hot market than other types of real estate. Expect to hold it and only work with a land specialist when you decide to sell.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2007
Best of luck to you. For a little perspective, you might want to read this article about buying land:…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 15, 2007
The lot I'm looking at is a 2 1/2 acre lot and I really can't do anything with it as far as making money (until I sell). The taxes/carrying costs are so low, that it's not to big of a deal. Thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2007
Buy in the way of progress. It's the best way to make money. If possible try to figure out a way to generate some income off it if you can in the speculative period. Can it be a parking lot, rental farm, tempoarary housing, or something else. Otherwise you have to pay all the carrying costs without any income from it which can be painful until you sell. Good Luck.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2007
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
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