Everyone can identify with the desire to own land and in todays down Real Estate market the idea of finding cheap property is certainly within reach. It doesn’t matter what you plan on using it for. Perhaps you have a dream to build a vacation home or maybe you’re thinking of living cheap by placing a pre-fab home on some lovely piece of land in the country. At one time or another we’ve all dreamed of finding a nice piece of land land for a bargain. When I was looking for land in Panama I learned one important lesson – the Internet may get you started but you’re never going to find that ‘sweet deal’ online. You’ve got to get out, kick some dirt and talk to people to uncover the best deal. It does help to begin by surfing realty websites like, mls.com and realtor.com but the reality is you are only going to find property that’s already been listed by a Realtor. That means someone has made a conscious decision to sell their property and has gone to the person they believe can get them the most for it – a professional.
It’s not rocket science to realize this will not be the way to your ‘best deal’. Remember a Realtor’s responsibility is to the seller and the biggest part of that responsibility is getting the seller as much as he possibly can. Not only that but the whole commssioon based structure of real estate sales means the selling agent will always try and get the highest price in order to get the highest personal earning. All of that said I don’t want to beat up Realtors too much. A true professional earns their pay, for the seller, and after all this is still the way most of us buy a house but when it comes to buying raw land there are better ways to find cheap property. The first thing to be aware of is that there is a lot of property available for a bargain that never gets listed.
In his book, “Country Property Dirt Cheap: How I Found My Piece of Inexpensive Rural Land“, Ralph Turner gives a number of very good ideas for finding cheap property while by-passing the real estate agent. Here’s one of the best strategies:
- First pick up some ‘plat maps’ or well detailed road maps of the areas you are interested in purchasing in.
- Go for a drive in the countryside, obviously in the area which most interests you – the one you have maps for, be sure to take along a note pad and a digital camera. Look for properties which are unkempt and appear to be abandoned. Also make note of occupied properties which appear neglected.
- Now, make detailed notes and take photos of any properties you find. Mark them carefully on the map and be sure to cross reference to your notes and photos.
- Once you have a couple of potential finds visit the local land registry office, it’s usually in the town courthouse. Here you can look up more details about the property like who owns it and if there are any encumbrances against it. You may even find there are back taxes owing on it. These are the types of properties you can often buy cheap simplying by contacting the owner and offering to take it off their hands.
Give it a try and you will be on your way to discovering the cheapest places to live in America.