Do you love the idea of owning land? Whether you’re hoping to buy land to build a home, keep it as an investment, or use it for recreational activities like hunting or four-wheeling, the process of buying land can be an exhilarating one. However, even if this is not your first time buying property, there are a few extra steps and considerations to keep in mind before you start searching for your perfect patch of earth.

Intimidated? Don’t be! While the process can be more complex, doing your research and finding the right expert help can make things 100 times easier and more manageable. After all, buying land is a huge commitment and investment, so you want to take every necessary step to make sure you’re doing it right.

This quick guide is meant to bring to your attention some of the main things you’ll have to consider before you decide to move forward with purchasing land and during the process. If you want more information about anything you read here, just send us a message! Our team would love to answer your questions and help you find what you’re looking for. Let’s dig in!

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Buying land can be expensive, specially if you plan to build on it. We’re not only talking about the cost of the land itself and all the fees, permits, tests, inspections, etc., but also the cost of materials and labor for building on it and making it functional. Because of this, experts recommend that aspiring land buyers be:

  • Debt free or low debt – this includes credit cards, student loans, and more

  • Supported by an emergency fund

  • Ready to provide a down payment of at least 10% on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage

Other experts even recommend paying for it in cash, if you can. If that’s not an option, you can get what’s called a land loan. A land loan is a financing option available through a bank lender for those looking to purchase a plot of land. Like with home mortgages, the lender will look at the borrower’s credit history and the value of the land to assess eligibility and terms. However, since the lack of property collateral presents more risk for the lender, the interest rate and down payment may be higher.

The best thing you can do is to talk to your financial advisor so they can help you assess your situation and determine what’s the best option for you.

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Like most things, land follows the rule of “you get what you pay for.” You’ll want to buy a quality piece that will grow in value over time. Here are a few things to consider.

Location: Whether or not this is your “forever property,” consider whether your land is in a universally-desired location. Location, location, location!

Zoning: You’ll need to check city, county, and state zoning ordinances to see whether it’s possible to build a home on the property. If you’re not thinking of building a home, but using the land for other purposes, you’ll need to check on that too. Some areas may have different rules about what you’re allowed to do with the land, even if you own it.

Topography and environmental concerns: The elevation, type of soil, and any restrictions on what you can and can’t do with the fauna and flora of the land may be relevant for what you intend to do.


Road access: The ability to get to your land is essential, and if the roads leading to your property are private property, you’ll need to work with the land owner to gain access. Don’t assume you’ll be able to work this out after closing, so make sure you there is a plan that all parties have agreed to before moving forward.

Presence of liens: Before you purchase, make sure that the property you’re interested in is free of liens, also known as legal claims against the property.

Buildability: Fit Small Business suggests that buyers consult a builder before purchasing land to see if the lot can make good use of light, space, topography, and more.

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Buying land is a complex process with many pieces to consider carefully. Our team has 50+ years of experience in real estate, so we know the ins and outs of buying land in the Madison area and beyond. We’ll help you along every step of the process and ensure your land purchasing experience is not only stress-free, but even fun. Are you ready to learn more? Contact us today—let’s make your land ownership dreams a reality!

If you liked our quick guide on how to buy land, you’ll love our blog, which is full of awesome articles on all things real estate like negotiating your relocation package to the best spots in Baraboo, Wisconsin.