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.
-John E. Hall, Jr. CCIM