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Use Real Estate Professionals: Tip #8 for Buying Residential Lots and Land

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All of the 8 Tips for Buying Residential Lots & Land for a New Home play an important role in evaluating a lot or land for sale, but it’s possible that the single most significant tip is to make sure you are working with experienced, knowledgeable and helpful real estate professionals.

The A-Team

Successfully identifying and purchasing that “right” property often requires the help of professionals with whom you work very closely – like an agent, home builder and architect. These primary contacts for buying lots or land for a new home are your A-Team.

Choosing a good A-Team can make the property buying process positive and successful, so find people that are the right fit for you. First and foremost, these people need to be qualified and experienced, but it also helps if you like and feel comfortable with them as they guide you through this important, and possibly stressful or emotional, process.Pros like a Builder, Broker and Architect Can Make Your Land Buying Process Easier

You should interview prospects, talk to references and review their prior work. Make sure you get written proposals, and contracts, so you know and agree about what they will be doing. Ask friends, family and colleagues for references. Check online resources too, like their website, the Better Business Bureau and other relevant rating or review sites.

Note that your A-Team members should know their limits, so they can recommend when you need to bring in other specialists. Your A-Team often can act as a liaison for you with other team members, as it is common for agents to coordinate with real estate attorneys and builders to work directly with designers and any number of technical specialists.

A Who’s Who of Lot Buying & Real Estate Professionals

Although some local laws and customs may vary, here is a list of potential team members and their typical roles:

  • Buyer’s Agent or Broker – A “buyer’s broker” is your advocate, and it’s important to find one that understands land. Representing buyers is a specialty and understanding the unique needs of a lot or land buyer is an additional specialty that may not be fully appreciated by an agent that normally buys and sells houses. A good Buyer’s Agent also will act as your quarterback: They can recommend other professionals for your team, evaluate your options, pinpoint issues and usually will help negotiate a standard real estate purchase contract and coordinate your closing.
  • Home Builder – If you are ready to build a custom home, find a home builder early in the process so they can evaluate lots with you and help you understand your budget. You don’t always have to identify a specific homebuilder before you buy your lot, especially if you just find that perfect piece of land that you want to buy and take your time with slowly. Even if you have not identified the finalists to be your homebuilder, you may be surprised how helpful builders can be when evaluating a lot that’s for sale (this gives the builder an opportunity to build a relationship and prove their abilities to you). And remember, if you buy a lot for your home directly from a builder that he is the “Seller” at that time, even though he ultimately will be part of your new home team.
  • Architects and Designers – If you’re building a custom home you likely will work very closely with an architect. Or you may buy from a builder who already has their own house plans, or has in-house design professionals on their team.
  • Real Estate Attorney – Your attorney also is your advocate, and will coordinate your closing and the transfer of the lot to you. And if you need anything other than a standard contract form, plan to use an experienced real estate attorney that can prepare and negotiate your purchase contract. Attorneys also can help you understand and evaluate title documents, easements, title insurance, loan documents and other closing matters.
  • Surveyor – Use a surveyor experienced with the type of property you are purchasing, and make sure they are showing all the information you or your team need and want on the survey. Ask for more detail or clarifications if necessary.
  • Other Technical Specialists – Sometimes other technical specialists are involved to evaluate things like soils, percolation, water availability, wetlands and environmental conditions.
  • Lender – Some may not consider their lender to be “a part of the team”, but if you are financing your purchase you want to make sure you are working with the best lender possible. Your lender needs to consider you a valued customer and you should be able to consider them to be a partner, not a foe.

Of course not every buying situation requires all of these professionals on your team. For example, you’ll find that you are likely to need fewer technical specialists when buying a planned lot in a recently developed community and probably less design help when buying directly from a homebuilder that will use their house plans to build your new home.

Buying a building lot or vacant land is a big step in your path to a new home and, as you may have learned throughout this series, it’s not really a DIY subject. So while you can undertake some of your Spaghetti Test and perform some due diligence research on your own, we encourage you to find the right team to help you when you think you are ready to buy.

Working with the right people can give you peace of mind, and helps make finding a lot or land for your new home an exciting…and successful…process.

 

Check out our page dedicated to Tips & Resources for Buying Lots & Land, which gathers many different helpful resources in one place for lot and land buyers and provides tips about using LotNetwork.com to help you in your search.

 

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Discussion

  1. Ronald Swanson says

    I never thought about getting an attorney for negotiating real estate, but it makes sense to have one on your “A Team”. Like you said, they can help you evaluate documents, insurance, and any closing matters. This is important because I don’t know a thing about real estate when it comes down to the fine details. With an attorney I can get the most of the trade, while paying the least amount of money as possible.

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