Home News What one reporter learned buying a slice of rural Minnesota as a getaway

What one reporter learned buying a slice of rural Minnesota as a getaway

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If you were like me, you probably had to escape the last two years.

White beaches and exotic cities are a paradise for some. But my family and I enjoy the simple enjoyment of calm lakes, buzzing meadow grass, and calm forests.

In May, my partner and I decided to take the plunge and get a small recreational land in Pine County where the family could camp, hunt and just relax.

Our dreams were commonplace. Sales of recreational land this year in Minnesota and several other states are close to or above last year’s record. Estimate Potlatch DelticA timber company that remains at the top of the market.

Brainerd real estate company Close-Converse and LandRadar.comDemand for recreational land has increased, including first-time buyers from Twin Cities, as people have sought to escape the blockade. “Finding 40 or 80 acres of land where you can take off your mask was a great option,” he said.

Here are some things I learned during the land purchase process and some tips I wanted to know before I started.

Know why and why you want to use the land

Jim Nelson, founder of the family-owned Timber Ghost Realty in North St. Paul, says the first step is to actually think about what the land will be used for. Is it for hunting? fishing? Do you want to build a house on it someday? If you want to finally build on land, you need to investigate zoning, utilities, soil conditions, etc.

What time of the year do you want to use it? What kind of animals and trees do you want to see? Would you like to consider a river property that is cheaper than being in the lake? How far are you from your house? The farther you are from Twin Cities, the cheaper the property may be.

Look at winter

Many people buy land in the spring and fall, but winter may also be a good time to see, Anderson said. When the trees are exposed and the damp areas are frozen, the scenery is better seen and it is easier to walk. Looking at the premises, there was still snow, so all the tracks and scat singing showed that there were a lot of wildlife.

Ask a lot of questions

In Minnesota, recreational land sellers are less obliged to disclose information about their assets, so buyers should try to understand as much as possible the risks associated with their assets by asking questions, Anderson said. “If you don’t get a satisfactory answer before signing a purchase agreement, you don’t have to buy land,” he said.

We sent the seller and his realtor a fairly steady text message about everything from problematic damp places to the smell of fertilizer from nearby farms. Asking questions never hurt and I am grateful that I learned a lot before buying the property. Many counties have digital maps that can provide information about wetland areas, soil types, and other valuable data. Mobile apps like onX Hunt can also help to show site boundaries.

Remember to ask questions as you go through different parts of the paperwork process. The day before closing, I was asked about a mistake in the closing document and saved $ 1,000.

Use a real estate agent with land experience

We decided not to use another realtor to represent us, but to make the seller’s agent the facilitator of the transaction. Our own agents probably saved us money. The process can be very different from a home, so it is helpful to have an agent with real experience in selling land.Anderson’s LandRadar.com There is a toolbox of useful resources, such as a checklist for land buyers.

Make sure the details are spelled out

Due to disagreements over deer stalls, our transaction was almost unsuccessful. The seller said the hut and deer stalls are supposed to go with the property. Later in the process, I learned that he was referring to a second deer stall on the premises, rather than the larger, more expensive one that was prominent on the land. Make sure you and the seller explain exactly which items and tools will stay in the property. Negotiate chainsaws, lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, utility carts and more. Ultimately you can save a lot of money and time.

Determine accessibility before committing

Our land is on a minimally paved, unpaved street. Accessibility determines ease of use, the number of seasons you can enjoy your property, what you can bring there, and how easy it is to add utilities.

For us, we wanted to put a camper on the land, so we needed enough roads to carry the trailer. Also, before signing the contract, I checked if I could carry the truck to a portable toilet company. Without the toilets, we wouldn’t have been able to buy the property.

Consider different funding options

Seasonal cabins and recreational land are not covered by traditional mortgage programs, according to Tom Willy, branch manager and vice president of Northview Bank, based in Finlayson, Minnesota. According to Willy, recreational land loans are a product that allows banks to maintain their own loan portfolio instead of being sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are common mortgages.

Banks that raise funds for land purchases have different rates and conditions. Some banks do not lend to land at all or only lend to certain areas. Some lenders also offer land or lot loans to vacant lot buyers who eventually want to build a new home. The down payment is usually a little higher, as much as 35% of the total price. However, Northview raises only 10% of the money, Willy said. Of course, good credit is important.

Get surveys and / or ratings

According to Anderson, certified land surveys provide most information about restrictions, easements, contracts, drive-through rights, and site boundaries.

If you pay for the land in cash, you do not need to have a land appraisal. However, our land appraisal has proved to be really helpful in ensuring that we are making good financial decisions. Appraisers consider buying land, analyze market conditions, and roam the property to identify disadvantages. The appraiser’s analysis of an equivalent land sale was also very helpful.

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