When you start searching for Country or Homestead Property, don’t be like most people and make an appointment with a Real Estate Agent.
That is not the best way to begin a search for property!
The method described in this article should work no matter where in the world you live.
How do I start searching for Country or Homestead Property?
The best way to begin your search is to utilize the internet from the comfort of your home, determine where you want to look for land and learn property values where you want to look for land.
If you do this you will have the advantage of intelligent preparation.
Which will give you an edge in your property search.
You Will Know The Answers To Important Questions Real Estate Agents Will Ask You
When setting up an appointment with a Real Estate Agent they will want to know what type of property you are interested in.
To answer this question in the manner that will allow the Real Estate Agent to focus on the type of property you are interested in looking at you need to know the following:
- Acreage, (lot size) you would like to buy such as 10-20 acres
- Price range, such as $ 75,000 to $100,00
- The location you are interested in, such as South Spencer County or near Wilsonville
- Whether undeveloped land (raw land) or land with a dwelling already on it
Because of your research from home you will be able to give specific information in answer to questions the Real Estate Agent will ask.
By knowing the answers you will help the Real Estate agent focus on what you want to see.
You may want to add other bits of information.
Such as a pond or year round creek would be a nice addition if property with this is available.
Land Prices Are Not The Same Everywhere
The single biggest mistake made in looking for Country or Homestead Property is to assume that land prices are the same everywhere.
They are not!
Land prices vary from place to place.
This is the first reason to do a web search from the comfort of your home
Before you ever contact a Real Estate Agent to look at land.
The first (primary) reason to do a web search for land in the areas you are interested in buying land is to be familiar with the asking prices of land in those areas.
Let me illustrate this reason with a story.
A friend from a populous State south of me was visiting a few years ago.
As we were walking across a field next to a country road he looked around, lowered his voice and said.
“A guy I work with actually came up here and bought land for just $10,000/acre!”
Now $10,000/acre where I lived was an outrageous price to pay for acreage.
I asked, “Where was this land located?”
The visiting friend gave me the location.
I asked him if his friend had come to look for land in a new 4 wheel drive pickup truck with a license plate from the populous State down south?
He looked puzzled and replied.
“He drove up in his new red Chevy Pickup Truck.”
My reply to that was.
“I thought something like that may have happened.
You see, I looked at that exact land for a friend a few months ago.
And the price I was quoted was $5,000/acre.”
There were two cardinal mistakes made by the man who paid $10,000/acre.
- He was not familiar with the land values in the area where he was looking for land
- To use another saying; “He wore his wealth on his sleeve.”
This man was a rural Real Estate Agents dream.
He was driving a new, fairly expensive vehicle with a license plate from a State several hundred miles away.
A State where the land values were markedly higher than they were where he was looking for land.
It did not take the Real Estate Agent long to discover that he was not familiar with the land values in the area where he was looking for land.
His mistake cost him over $100,000.00 by the time the purchase of that land was completed.
He overpaid for the land yet he was sure he had bought that land for a really good price.
I do not want you to make the same mistake this man made.
How To Do The Web Search
How you start your search will depend on whether you know where you want to look for land.
If you know where you want to search for land you can go directly to searching for Realtor’s in that area.
This is done by making a query such as “Realtors in the Wilsonville, Alabama area” in an internet search engine.
Then look at each web site that the search query brings up.
Some websites may have a special section for acreage or Country Property.
The prices listed on a Realtor’s website are what is called the asking price.
This is the price the Seller would like to get for the property.
Asking Price is not the same as Selling Price which is also called Purchase Price.
The difference between these prices will be discussed below.
If you are unsure about where you want to search for land a great way to begin is to make a query about areas you think you might be interested in.
This query is different than if you know where you want to look for land.
In a search engine type in the query: “Climate in (where you would like to research)”.
This search can give a wealth of information including…
Average temperature for each month of the year.
Average snow fall in the winter months.
Average rainfall each month
And maybe even average hours of sunshine in each month.
Now you have the basic information to decide if this is an area where the temperatures and snow fall are to your liking.
Is there enough rainfall and sunshine for your dream garden, berry patch and orchard.
If you are really fortunate, there will be pictures of that area of the country from this same query.
If there are no pictures you can try a query such as “Natural Features of (that area)”.
Or “Land Characteristics of (that area)”
This can be done for as many areas as you would like to search.
Once you find an area or areas that you like, it is time to make a query in the search engine for “Realtor’s in (that area you like).”
Many Realtor’s websites will have a section on acreage or Country Property, (may be called Rural Property).
Now you can research the answers to those questions a Real Estate Agent will ask when you contact one to look at property.
Lot size (acreage), price range, any specific location you are interested in.
And if you want to see undeveloped (raw) land or land with a dwelling (developed land) on it.
You may want to see both undeveloped and developed land that is in your price range.
You can access a nationwide guide I created to the Best Websites to Use to Begin Your Search for Country or Homestead Property (in the US) here.
You can also access a guide to Analyzing Country Homestead Property on Websites that I created here.
Both of these documents will help you in your search for property.
Difference Between Asking Price And Selling Price
Asking Price is the price the Seller would like to get for the land.
Selling Price is what the land actually sold for.
It is not uncommon for the difference between the asking and selling prices to be as much as 20%!
The difference depends upon several things.
Factors That Play Into The Difference Between Asking And Selling Price
One factor is the type of Real Estate Market that the area is experiencing.
There are three types of Real Estate Markets.
A Buyer’s Market, Stable Market and Seller’s Market.
All three markets are controlled by the Law of Supply and Demand.
A Buyer’s Market is where there are many more properties for sale than there are Buyer’s for property.
That is the supply of property is greater than the demand for property.
In this market, the Buyer is in the driver’s seat.
He has the luxury of being able to pick and choose from a lot of properties.
While the Seller has to wait and hope that their property is just what someone is looking for.
This means that many times a Seller has to either reduce their asking price to be able to sell their property, throw in some attractive extras to make the deal, or do both.
From a Buyer’s perspective, this is the ideal market to search for Country or Homestead Property.
In this market a difference of 20% and sometimes more between Asking Price and Selling price is possible.
A Stable Market is where there is about the same number of Buyer’s of land as there are Seller’s of land.
Since the supply of land is essentially equal to the demand for land both Buyer and Seller are on a fairly equal footing when it comes to land price and negotiation.
In this market the Buyer’s ability to quickly evaluate each parcel of land for it’s suitability as Country or Homestead Property and his negotiating skills are the Buyer’s best methods of getting a good deal on Country and Homestead Property.
In this market there can still be a difference between the Asking Price and the Selling Price.
But that difference is not nearly as much as if it was a Buyer’s Market.
A Seller’s Market is where there are many more Buyer’s looking for land than there are Seller’s with land for sale.
The demand for property is greater than the supply of property for sale.
Here the Seller is in the driver’s seat.
If you are wanting to purchase Country or Homestead Property in an area experiencing a Seller’s market, you must know how to quickly evaluate land.
And have excellent negotiating skills to be able to locate and purchase the best property available at a reasonable price.
Many Buyer’s of property in a Seller’s market end up paying the Asking Price or very near the Asking Price for property.
The type of market any area is experiencing can vary from year to year or even vary from season to season.
Not all land is equal.
A Buyer’s ability to evaluate the suitability of any parcel of land for the usage that Buyer desires plays a fairly large role in whether the land purchased is a good deal.
The better the Buyer’s ability to evaluate land for the desired usage, the higher will be the Buyer’s satisfaction with the land purchased.
The better the Buyer’s ability to evaluate land for the desired usage, the better value for the money that Buyer will get!
The Buyer’s Negotiating skills plays a significant role in the price the Buyer pays for the property.
A Buyer who understands the value of a win-win situation for both the Buyer and the Seller will be in a better position to negotiate a price that both sides see as fair and beneficial.
Those Buyer’s of Real Property and specifically Buyer’s of Country and Homestead Property that begin their search, their due diligence, from the comfort of their homes will be better prepared to begin looking for land with a Real Estate Agent.
Being armed with information before the physical search begins is an advantage that would have saved the driver of the red Chevy pickup truck a lot of money.
Likewise, being armed with information ahead of time will make your search for property less stressful and can save you money in the process!
What States allow homesteading?
The U.S. Homestead Acts have all expired.
A few cities in places like Nebraska and Iowa may have a city lot available if you build on it and live there for a specified period of time.
Some States have Homestead Laws which allow a specified amount of the value of a house and land to be exempt for Property Taxes and some court judgements.
Homestead Laws do not give you free land, they only exempt a portion of the value of the land you bought from taxes and some judgments.
You can homestead anywhere the 5 Key Factors are found.
In “Choosing Homestead Property – Water, Soil, Trees, Location” I share in detail about these key factors.
Modern homesteading is not dependent upon obtaining free land.
To learn more about modern homesteading you can read my article, “A Modern Homestead – Definition, Lifestyle Change, Gardening.”
How many acres do you need to feed a family?
The answer to this question depends upon the property’s characteristics.
If the land has good soil, plenty of sunshine, a long growing season and plenty of rain fall you can feed a family of 6 on a 1 acre garden and have produce left over to sell.
If on the other hand, the land has poor soil, is on the wrong side of a hill to get good sunshine, the growing season is short and the rainfall is sparse you might have to cultivate several acres to adequately feed a couple of people all year round.
What State has the cheapest land per acre?
This question is similar to the one immediately above.
If you looked long enough you could probably find land in the desert portion of America for under $1,000/acre.
That would be really cheap.
Problem is there may not be anyway to get sufficient water to that land to grow crops, water small animals and have water for home uses.
The better question is which States have reasonable priced land and also have enough water, good soil, trees, and other necessities for a homestead.
Look in those areas for land that is reasonably priced.