Due to the vast number of land parcels in the USA, you can find voluminous listings of mountain lands online. However, buying raw land isn’t easy as it has many moving parts that can be the deal-breaker. Every state has distinct challenges for upcoming developers or land investors.
From local zoning codes to water rights, conservation easements, and financing, you must consider several factors before checking out a mountain land for sale. Here is a guide to assist you in a smooth transition from exploring to purchasing.
Understand Why You Need the Land
The most obvious thing to consider before looking at land lots is your purpose of buying. That’s because you can narrow your search criteria accordingly to save trouble, time, and the heartbreak of letting go of the land that you really loved.
Do you want to build a home on the respective land? Are you looking to resell it at a profit in the future? Do you need a remote property in a picturesque location to spend your vacations camping, fishing, and hiking?
Answer these questions, and you’ll have your criteria to start looking around at potential properties.
Survey the Land
When making a land purchase, always remember to survey the property before buying. It can help identify the issues like encroachments, boundaries, and easements that you missed during the first inspection. Even a small encroachment like a neighbor’s fence unknowingly existing on your property line can become a bigger issue in the future.
For example, if you have a driveway passing through one corner of your land encroaching on your property line, you can take up this issue with your neighbor before it becomes a bone of contention.
Survey also helps mark the exact boundaries, especially in an irregularly shaped mountain land for sale. It can uncover known and unknown easements on the property that allow access to third-parties and render a piece of your land useless for you.
Look for Environmental Issues
Mountain lands can be infested with many environmental issues like groundwater contamination, flood zones, or sinkholes. Hence, you should inspect the land properly and take notice of such matters. There is a possibility of contamination in the mountain towns with mining history.
Similarly, wetlands on or near the property may have strict regulations. You should know your limitations and rights to build a legal property around them. Also, check if the property comes within a flood zone, and you need flood insurance.
If you intend to build a cabin or house on a mountain land, don’t forget to test the soil quality. The type, slope, flood susceptibility, or other underlying concerns can affect your design possibilities. Hire a soil engineer to check the septic design prospects if you can’t connect your property to the municipal waste system.
Drainage issues can also exist at some locations. Hence, don’t overlook these environmental considerations before buying a mountain land.
Check the Regulations
Montana regulations allow landowners to use water on their property for livestock, irrigation, and domestic purposes. For irrigation rights on a mountain land or a ranch property, you may have to work with a Water Master. They will monitor the diversion points in your property’s water basin to mark the priority dates when water may be in short supply.
As a landowner, you may donate a part of your property for easements and get a tax benefit on this donation. It may be a subdivision, mining, or clear-cut logging rights. The designated uses will be restricted, but conservation easements can reduce the property prices, and you can buy a bigger parcel for your money. However, you cannot purchase back the items donated from your property.
You should know about zoning restrictions determined by the local government. For example, if the land falls in the subdivision with an HOA, you must read through every governing document to understand if it allows pets or animals on the property.
Some HOA rules prohibit commercial uses while others limit the maximum or minimum home size on the parcel. Building envelopes can also prohibit the use of specific parts of property due to factors like visibility from other sites. You may find land with no covenants to avoid them.
Check the Access
Once you find a perfect mountain land for sale, don’t forget to check if the property is easily accessible. Sometimes, the land may be surrounded or landlocked by other lots with no legal access. It will restrict your land usage and access.
Buy the parcels having year-round access with proper roads and electricity on the site. This way, you can build your home on this property and enjoy unlimited access to nearby features like lakes, rivers, fisheries, etc.
With these considerations, you can buy a profitable mountain land and get maximum ROI.