Tag: Buying Land in Alabama John Hall and Company

How do I Prepare to Buy Land in Alabama

This article is focused more on the buyer who wants land for family recreational purposes and not a timber land investor. Most timberland investors have a very good idea of timber values, proximity to mills, timber growth rates and bare land values.

The first priority is to make a list of the amenities that you want if you could find the perfect property. Do you want a cabin, a fishing lake, a barn, established wildlife plots, etc. Some buyers prefer a “turnkey” family hunting/fishing property but this costs much more than “raw” land. Some buyers have the desire and expertise to construct amenities which takes time but saves a lot of money.

The second priority is to decide how much you want to spend on a property. If you need financing to buy the property you should meet with a lender who specializes in land loans. In Alabama, two of the most aggressive lenders are Alabama Ag Credit and First South Farm Credit. They will ask you for tax returns and a credit report. You may need about 15% – 20% of the estimated purchase price for a down payment. Your lender will be able to tell you in a very short time the loan amount, interest rate, term (number of years) and the monthly payments.

The final thing you need to do to prepare to buy land in Alabama is to find an experienced real estate agent to help you. The term is a Buyer’s Agent and it costs you nothing! Ask your banker, CPA, or friends who have bought or sold land to give you a short list of agents. Then look at their “bio” on their website to see if you feel compatible with any of them. Pick one and call him or her to discuss your property requirements. If they promptly send you some tracts to look at, then they may be a good choice to work with. Hopefully, you can meet him, tour some properties and get comfortable allowing the agent to represent you. When you are ready to buy, your agent can prepare the sale contract and assist you with the details to a successful closing.  Please give John Hall and Company a call at 334.270.8400 and speak with one of our experienced sales agents to discuss your perfect property. www.johnhallco.com.

Happy Hunting!

-John E. Hall, Jr. CCIM

How Does Buying Land Work?

Welcome to the John Hall and Company Buying Land in Alabama series.  This is part two in the series. Go here to read, part one written by Pete Hall

Purchasing land can be intimidating and a foreign concept to some. It does not have to be. Having a checklist on steps to take when purchasing a property can insure that you make informed and educated decisions. These decisions can mean the difference in you owning exactly the property you have dreamed of or not being satisfied with your purchase.

I believe there are three main questions a buyer needs to answer or have established when their search for property begins; Budget, use of the property, and preferred location. Honing in on these three questions to begin with can save you from wasting time searching and looking at properties that are not the right fit for you. Take the time in the beginning of the process to establish a budget. Whether that means meeting with financial advisors or exploring your options with financing. In Alabama there are several “land banks” that specialize in financing rural properties and can provide great insight on how to establish a budget in your search for land.

Once a budget is established then you are really able to kick off your search. When speaking with first time land buyers I tend to ask the question “What is your vision or why do you want a piece of rural land?” There is a reason people begin to look for rural land and keying in on what your hobbies are and what you envision yourself using the property for is a good place to start. Once you have the big picture it’s important to start keying in on the attributes the property needs to have. Listing out several attributes a property needs to have is a great place to start. Things such as a creek, pond, cabin, pasture, timber, wildlife food plots, topography, and any other attributes. Once you have your list of attributes then go through and identify which of those are absolute necessities to make up your ideal property. The landscape in Alabama changes dramatically throughout the state. If you’re looking for the property to consist of a cold-water creek with rocky outcroppings then the coastal plains of south Alabama may not be the best place to focus your search.

Preferred location. This is what I consider to be one of the three more important questions to ask yourself. I always suggest to people to be flexible when establishing a preferred location though. There are areas within the states that are like micro markets where land values can be significantly higher! You may have to travel a little bit further to find a better bang for your buck! Sometimes preferred locations and preferred attributes in a property don’t always match up. The landscape in Alabama changes dramatically throughout the state. If you’re looking for the property to consist of a cold-water creek with rocky outcroppings then the coastal plains of south Alabama may not be the best place to focus your search.  Figure out where your ideal property would be located and then search outward from there. Preferred property attributes and location may need to be adjusted. It just depends on which is more important to you.

Although the internet is a great tool and can provide more information than we know what to do with I still highly suggest identifying a real estate broker who specializes in land to represent and assist you in searching, viewing, and purchasing a property. They can provide invaluable insight for first time buyers and help avoid mistakes when purchasing a property before it is too late. An active land agent can have an understanding of an area that you may not be familiar with, be up to date on what the market value for a property is, be able to thoroughly and knowledgably show you properties, identify potential problems, ask important questions to the sellers that may otherwise not be understood or revealed, assist in negotiations, and importantly make sure that you are getting a fair deal while not being taken advantage of.

All in all, purchasing a piece of rural land can be a much simpler process than purchasing a home. Many times, it doesn’t consist of all the inspections and reports needed to close as a home would. Once you have developed a budget, identified what attributes a property needs to meet your desires, and generalized a preferred location then the search process can become much more enjoyable. Having a land agent on your side to assist you through the process can result in a land buying process that was enjoyable and stress free. Before you know it, you will be spending time on your own piece of property enjoying it just the way you dreamed of!

-Hoke Smith

Buying Land in Alabama – The John Hall & Company Advantage

We live in the age of information overload. It’s no surprise that today’s potential buyer is more informed than ever before. However, that same buyer is often more confused and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices and information. It is now more difficult than ever to discern the accurate and relevant information needed to make informed and wise decisions, especially when it comes to buying large tracts of land.

“Getting information from the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant”

Mitchell Kapor

A prospective buyer may look at Zillow to find the purchase price of a similar sized hunting tract that sold in the general vicinity. But it is hard to gauge from online information if properties are really comparable because there is so much not said in the listing. Properties listed online are going to highlight the positive of the properties. It requires diligent research, asking the right questions, and understanding land to really determine the true value of a property.

Last week, a friend found “the perfect” property listing on the internet that had a nice cabin on a beautiful lake. Like all of us would do, he got excited and called the listing agent before talking with me. He loved the cabin and the lake so much he immediately put in an offer with the listing agent and was ready to buy the land.

Thankfully, his offer was not accepted. He learned afterwards the listing agent failed to mention that the mineral rights didn’t convey with the property. I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but the point is my friend would have been under contract had his offer been accepted.

He trusted the listing agent even though they had just met. He didn’t have another trusted set of eyes representing his best interest.

He called and asked me to be his Buyers Agent.

When we become your Buyers Agent we take properties and their agents to task by research and asking lots of questions.

Examples of just a few questions we ask on behalf of our buyers:

  • What are the circumstances surrounding the sale?
  • What is the contributing timber value?
  • What price was placed on the lodge?
  • Did the lodge already have power or did the owner have to run the utility at considerable cost?
  • Is the owner an adjoining landowner?
  • Is the land being sold by a family member who was in financial distress?
  • Has the deer been managed to QDMA standards?
  • Is there supplemental feeding?
  • Was the property leased to a hunting club who shot anything with horns?
  • Has the best species of hardwoods been select cut from the bottoms?
  • Is or was the lake stocked and intensely managed? Was it stocked with F1 Tiger Bass?

We customize our questions for the buyer’s needs and the type of property they are seeking.

Our clients depend on John Hall and Company to collect the pertinent information our clients’ need and filtered out the rest, give proprietary knowledge and expertise, discern which listings are legitimate and which ones should be avoided despite the pretty pictures, present accurate evaluation of land options using comparable sales information determine a property’s value, narrow down search to focus on the most important characteristics our clients are wanting to acquire, and, most importantly, streamline the buying process and make it easy on the client.

John Hall and Company has 33 continuous years of experience in land transactions. We have intimate familiarity of listed properties, amenities, and contributory values in Central and South Alabama.

When a potential buyer becomes a client of John Hall and Company you become one of our own. We introduce you to our network of advisors and experts in the fields of financing, forestry, wildlife biology, surveyors, lake builders, 1031 tax deferred exchange intermediaries, appraisers, closing attorneys, and more. Together we make up a team that ensures every possible consideration has been thoroughly covered and planned.

Please, call us today to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our agents.

-Pete Hall, ALC

Click here for part 2, written by Hoke Smith, “How Does Buying Land in Alabama Work?”