Buying Hunting Land 101 – A Guide For The First Time Buyer
If you are contemplating purchasing your own hunting property, being well informed is crucial. The many options to consider such as easements, timber potential, and topography diversity can be overwhelming to a first-time land buyer. Therefore, I teamed up with Fletcher Majors, ALC with Great Southern Land to simplify the land buying process so avid hunters can navigate their first purchase with ease and choose a property that is perfectly suited for their specific needs.
• Choose an agent and financial institution that speaks “land”.
Real estate sales and loan options are quite complex. Just as you would seek a medical specialist for your specific health needs (i.e. cardiologist, orthopedic, etc.), when purchasing large tracts of land, you should choose a real estate professional and financial institution that specializes in land sales. Land transactions require a land professional with experience and expertise in the field.
• Determine what you want in your ideal place. Don’t settle.
Will you be hunting deer, turkey, dove, quail, or all of the above? Be sure that the property that you are looking for has suitable topography and resources for the wildlife you will be harvesting. As a general rule of thumb, property that has sufficient amounts of running water, food sources, and woodland cover is considered a “hunting land trifecta.” These resources will lend to happy and healthy wildlife populations.
The location of the property is also an important factor to consider. Having land within an easy driving distance of your home is ideal. Many hunters say that having their land within 2.5 or 3 hours of home works perfectly. This allows for an easy drive and ultimately more time in the woods.
Do you plan on building? You will want to look for land that has a level, dry and easily accessible site (for you and the utilities). Having a “perc” test is something you may want done prior to going under contract if there is no existing well or septic system. Also, be sure you know the property lines. If there are natural boundaries such as roads and streams you may not need a survey but it’s best to have a land survey in hand prior to closing so you will know the exact property boundaries. Get a title policy and read it carefully for hidden legal issues such as easements granted but never used. These are all areas that an experienced land agent/broker will be able to assist you with.
• Easements and taxes…oh my!
All of the various “land jargon” can be a bit confusing for first time purchasers. Let’s start with taxes. You will want to know how much you will be paying in annual taxes so you can adjust your budget accordingly. The simplest and most accurate way to know exactly what you’ll be spending is to visit the local county tax collector and ask.
Knowing the property easements that may benefit or even encumber the property is also something that your land agent should be able to assist you with and explain accordingly. Hopefully, the property will have public road access but if not, they will be able to provide guidance in obtaining a deeded easement so you can get on and off the property easily (and legally).
• Is there investment potential?
The beauty of a land purchase is that it often has potential income opportunities. The government offers various land owner incentive programs ranging from wildlife conservation to grassland reserves and forest enhancement which can be found online on the USDA website .
Often the most valuable asset will be timber. Mature woods may offer an income opportunity in the near future whereas young pine plantations may offer a valuable revenue source down the road. Be sure the property comes with the timber rights and that you are working with a land agent that can assist you in finding reputable forestry resources.
There you have it.…” Buying Hunting Land 101!” Here’s to a smooth land purchase and many years of successful hunting!
Lindsay Schumacher Independent Marketing & PR Consultant|Outdoors Freelance Writer