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What are the Best Options When It Comes to Buying Land in California?

Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 by Land Century

There’s a lot to consider when buying California land. From land type to location and the transaction process, there are many factors at play that will make your buying experience smooth and quick, or a complete nightmare. Let’s take a look at what the best options are when it comes to buying land.

Types of Land Available


Before you do anything else, you need to determine what type of land you want to buy. There are quite a few to choose from, so it’s important to understand each type’s purpose.

Farmland


Farmland typically comes with several acres, structures and in most cases, utilities. If the farm is up and running, you may be looking at a turnkey property that could provide you with sustainable income.

Farmland isn’t the right choice for everyone. Depending on what the land produces are and the animals being kept, you may need farming experience to make your investment a success.

Ranch


Although similar, ranches differ from farms. Ranches deal primarily with livestock, while farms deal primarily with crops. Crops can still be grown on ranches, and these properties typically come with numerous acres of land. Like farmland, you’ll want to have experience (or hire someone who does) running this type of property if you hope to see a return on your investment.

Acreage


Acreage is what most people think of when they envision themselves buying land. This is land that hasn’t been developed. Essentially, you’re looking at buying an empty plot of land that hasn’t been cleared. Utilities, water and sewer are typically not present - you’ll find acres for sale in every state.

Acreage for sale in California can vary greatly in size. In some states, you can purchase several hundred acres at reasonable prices. In other locations, you’ll pay more for two or three acres than you would a fully developed property with a pre-existing home.

Commercial


If you have plans for commercial development, you’ll need to invest in commercial land. These properties are already located in commercial zoning areas, so you can start building relatively quickly. Depending on its location, this type of land can be costly, but will likely provide a great return.

Recreational


Recreational land is land used for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. These parcels of land are generally zoned as Seasonal Residential. In other words, you won’t be able to build a permanent residence here without rezoning. If you’re looking to build a hunting or seasonal retreat, this may a great option for you.

Where to Buy Land


Now that you know what type of land you want to purchase, you need to consider your purchasing options. There are quite a few avenues you can take here:

- Auctions: Private and government land auctions are one way to purchase land. You might be able to score a great deal on a property through an auction, but because they can be unpredictable, auctions are generally not a reliable way to purchase land.

- Directly from the owner: It’s not uncommon to find land for sale by owner. If you have the cash on hand, buying from the owner could make the process quick and easy. However, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what type of paperwork is involved and the legal process that goes along with selling land.

- Real estate agencies: Real estate agencies can help you find all types of land. And when it comes time to close, your agent will ensure that all the necessary paperwork is in order.

- Online: Today, it’s easier than ever to obtain land online. While it’s important to do your research before buying, purchasing land online is typically the most cost effective option.

Should You Buy Land from Agencies or Online?


When you consider all of the options above, buying land through an agent or online are generally your best options.

Most people are comfortable with the idea of buying land through a real estate agent. But what about online? Is it safe to buy land online? Most people have no problem making everyday purchases online, but land is a major purchase and requires more consideration. When working with the right company, buying land online can be safe and affordable.

Purchasing the Land: Loans or Cash?


When looking for California land for sale, you generally have two options: take out a loan, or buy with cash. In the case of buying online or at an auction, you’ll likely need cash to buy the property you want. The good news is that in these cases (especially when buying online), the cost is typically lower than average. Buying with cash may not be an issue in either of these scenarios.

Loans are also available if you don’t have the funds to purchase the property outright. Just keep in mind that loans are harder to come by when buying land. Land loans are riskier because the property isn’t being used for housing or producing income. If you were to walk away from the loan, the lender would be stuck with the land. For this reason, land loans typically come with higher down payment requirements and higher interest rates than mortgage loans.

If you have plans to build right away, you may be able to obtain a construction loan, or a construction-to-permanent loan. In either case, you’ll secure the funds you need to build your new home. But with the latter option, the loan will convert to a permanent mortgage once the construction is complete. Financing is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face when buying land – unless you have the cash to purchase it outright.

These are your best options when it comes to buying land. Before you even start looking for a property, take the time to determine what type of land you want and consider how you’ll purchase the land. It’s a good idea to start thinking about financing early on and whether or not you’ll buy your land online, or through a different outlet. Remember, buying land is a major investment, so take your time carefully consider all of your options.
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