Helpful how-to-buy land tips with a curated list of websites where you can find and purchase land that meet your specific needs, budget and long-term usage plans.

It is a poorly kept secret that many people love to use Zillow as a work diversion to browse a myriad of beautiful, luxurious homes as a form of escapism. At Purgula, we encourage this type of dreaming to expand one’s beliefs in what is possible and, at a minimum, to get great design ideas and inspiration in the process.

In this article, we have curated real estate websites that specialize in the buying and selling of land to help you become an “informed dreamer” to start you on a path of  land purchase to enjoy the benefits that landownership can offer. You will come to the realization that owning land is not just for the very wealthy, but also for the creatively resourceful and determined.

These sites can also be used as an effective way to discover businesses for sale, such as farms, ranches, inns, and restaurants.


 

Reasons to Buy Land

No matter your current situation in life, e.g. age, health, number of children, earning potential, financial assets, liabilities, etc., land can offer a wide range of opportunities and solutions across a wide range of choices and price points.

Those early in their careers may be surprised by how many low cost options are on the market, especially when considering a wider geographic region that encompasses rural areas.

Additionally, families attempting to solve affordability issues within more populated areas, may be surprised to learn that it is possible to find empty residential lots within your preferred geographic areas.

Here are the most common reasons for purchasing land to get your creative juices flowing about the future. These reasons can also be referred to as “intended use” of the land.

  • Residential Construction
    • New Home Construction
    • Future Retirement Home
    • Weekend, Summer Home
    • Rental Investment Property
  • Mixed-Use Residential Home Businesses:
    • Farming
    • Ranching
    • Timberland
    • Hospitality
    • Bar & Restaurants
    • Commercial Recreational Uses
    • Other Business Types
  • Personal Recreational Uses, such as:
    • Camping; Hiking; Hunting; Water Recreation; Winter Recreation; Gardening
  • Investor Speculation
    • Buy & Hold Investment Strategy

For further inspiration, learn from this real-world example of how a corporate executive bought an avocado farm and successfully transitioned into being a small agricultural business owner:


 

Costs to Consider When Purchasing Land

Costs can vary dramatically depending on whether a parcel of land is developed or undeveloped. When purchasing land, assumptions should never be made, as there are too many details that must be confirmed to calculate accurate financial outlays. Costs need to be calculated across several time horizons: immediate ownership; upgrades necessary for intended usage; and long-term maintenance and operational fees.

Example costs can include:

  • Residential Construction and Upgrades
  • Land Clearing
  • Recreational Vehicles & Equipment, such as:
    • All-terrain 4-season vehicles; watercraft; outdoor camping gear; campers; etc.
  • Site & Personal Security
    • Security fencing and systems; fire arms; foul weather protection; generators; etc.
  • Road Access
    • Private Roads and Easements
  • Utility Hookups
    • Water; Sewage; Electricity
  • Property Taxes based on Planned Usage
  • Maintenance and Improvements, such as:
    • Property management fees; fencing; ponds, outbuildings; new appliances; landscaping; furnishings; and general repairs

 

Risks to Consider When Purchasing Land

Though there are risks with any real estate transaction, there are even more when purchasing land, given that there are more details that need to be confirmed.

  • Raw, Undeveloped Land
  • Landlocked Land
  • Knowing How to Conduct Due Diligence
  • Local Building, Zoning and Land Use Laws and Regulations
  • Legal and Physical Access Methods
  • Faulty Ownership Claims
  • Improperly Assessed Lots
  • Environmental Issues (e.g. Flooding & Wetlands)
  • Availabilities of Utilities
  • Nearby Amenities
  • Natural Hazards
  • Crime & Personal Safety

Buying Raw, Undeveloped Land

Undeveloped land can be attractive for its comparably lower cost. However, raw land is inherently riskier as it may not be easy to decipher how it can be used and the requisite costs and tasks needed to get it to proper form for future use.

Therefore, when buying undeveloped land, it is necessary to understand local and regional factors such as zoning restrictions, terrain, climate and access, as well as to have a viable plan to turn your raw land into its intended usage. Vacant lots that are not located sufficiently close to water and sewage lines will need wells and septic systems for these utility types.

Buying Landlocked Parcels

Another challenge of which to be aware is that there are many land parcels for sale across the United States that are landlocked. This means a parcel of land does not have official, legal road access leading onto the property.

In order to rectify this situation, the land buyer would need to acquire access easements with neighboring property owners. Private dirt roads often run through neighboring land, which would require receiving usage permission through an access easement agreement.


 

Land Purchase Scenario

To get familiar with the nuances of purchasing land, we highly recommend watching this video from Gokce Capital, which gives an easy-to-understand scenario of how this land investor firm applies their HOWZAT due diligence to assess land opportunities:

  • H: Does the parcel have an HOA?
  • O: Is there Official legal road access?
  • W: Is the property located on Wetlands?
  • Z: What are the allowable Zoning uses?
  • A: Is there physical Access to the parcel?
  • T: Does the Terrain present any challenges?

These simple steps are an effective way to identify any potential red flag situations (AKA “deal breaker” situations) quickly for any given land purchase opportunity you may consider.

Would You Buy 5 Acres of Land In California for $1,000 with No LEGAL ACCESS?

 


 

What to Look for When Searching Land for Sale

Here are popular search filters to use to increase the quality and relevance of search results when accessing land websites:

  • Property Type
  • Geographic Location (State, County, City, Zip Code)
  • Lot Size: Min & Max
  • Lot Price: Min & Max
  • Price Per Acre: Min & Max
  • Intended Use & Zoning Needs
  • Activities & Amenities
  • Terrain Type & Geographic Setting
  • Developed or Undeveloped
  • Road Access
  • Has Existing Business or Not

 

Where to Buy Land Online

You may be surprised by the high number of established websites that have large collections of land listings for sale. Like many real estate listing sites, there will likely be significant overlap. However, as you get a clearer vision of what you are looking for, you will gravitate towards the sites that are easiest to find listings matching your most important criteria.

An easy way to start is to use popular residential real estate listing sites such as Zillow and Trulia, and simply selecting House Type as Land.

Land.com

The Land.com Network, owned by the CoStar Group and consisting of Lands of America, Land and Farm, and LandWatch.com, is the largest online marketplace to discover, buy and sell rural land and real estate by plot, parcel and acreage across the United States.

  • Lands of America
    • Listings are searchable by location, price, acreage, and property type
  • Land and Farm
    • Listings are searchable by location, price, acreage, and property type
  • Landwatch.com
    • Listings are searchable by location, price, acreage, and property type
    • Has more filters for recreational activities, such as: horseback riding, boating, RVing, etc.

 

LandFlip.com

Landflip, launched in 2004, has since expanded itself into a group of complementary land websites consisting of LotFlip, FarmFlip, RanchFlip, and LandThink, a terrific information resource for all things related to buying and owning land. Landflip states that it has close to $14 billion of land for sale in the United States with a median listing price of $125,000, equating to an average per-acre-price of $3,225. The total acreage of United States land for sale is approximately 4.25 million acres with an average listing size of 164 acres. They recommend creating a free buyer user profile to be able to save and revisit your search criteria, favorite listings and enable alert notifications.

  • LandFlip
    • Has helpful search filters if you have specific price goals, such as min and max total cost, as well as price per acre goals. Currently has over 1,400 listings priced at or below $5,000. Does not have as many searchable filters as other land sites.
  • LotFlip
    • Lists lots up to 20 acres in size for sale, with a median listing price of $37,000. Includes unique keywords representing smaller properties, such as: minifarm; farmette; and ranchette.

 

Gokce Capital

Gokce Capital is a small independent land investor headed by Erika Benson, who previously helped New Yorkers find affordable housing and now helps people around the US find affordable land. For anyone new to purchasing land, we highly recommend spending time on both their blog and YouTube channel. Callouts of their unique offerings include:


 

Landio

Landio’s name stands for “Land is Opportunity”, and is highly reflective of the passion they bring to the land marketplace. Though they do not have the largest collection of listings, they are a customer-centric reseller of vacant land that excels at providing value and trustworthy responsiveness.

Here are explanations for the question “Why Land?” and why they love land:

The return on investments in land can be financial and/or physiological. Through land investing you can build wealth, a legacy, or both. Land can be enjoyed in its native state or improved and built upon. The resources from land can feed, clothe, shelter and comfort us.

Some of our earliest and fondest childhood memories were set in forests, on farms and near lakes and rivers. Owning land has been a part of our family for generations and we are continuing that tradition. Each parcel of land is uniquely one-of-a-kind and we find beauty in all of them.

To understand their unique approach to selling land, be sure to read their FAQs page and their video customer testimonials. Also visit their partnership page that has videos of the extended Landio family that includes structural building partners, as well as families that launched new businesses after purchasing land from Landio.

Example Landio Video Listing

Colorado Land for Sale • 35 Acres with Road Frontage & Mountain Views near National Forest • LANDiO


 

National Land Realty

National Land Realty (NLR)  differentiates its website from the competition with it super impressive Land Tour 360® interactive viewing technology. They are not exaggerating when they confidently state that this tool is the future of buying and selling land, with its ability to integrate unparalleled views, property details, within an intuitive interactive experience. NLR also demonstrates exceptional drone video coverage on their YouTube channel. NLR’s leasing services should be considered by those interested in monetizing a future land purchase.

“If a 2D aerial of a property says 1,000 words, then a 360 degree interactive aerial says a million!”

Aaron Graham, NLR Partner

NLR’s reinvigorated mission as stated in the video below can be summarized in these statements:

  • “What we are engineering is a complete real estate revolution”
  • “The world’s simplest way to buy, sell, see and experience land”
  • “Old school ethics with game changing technology and data”
  • “Local know-how on a national scale”

Land Realty Reinvented


 

Hayden Outdoors

Hayden Outdoors, based in Windsor, Colorado and established in 1976, is a real estate brokerage service that specializes in all types of land realty, including: vacant undeveloped land; farms; ranches; recreational properties; rural luxury homes; and waterfront properties. They also provide an array of valuable services for buyers. Their search filter for Activities & Amenities is more granular than most other land sites.


 

Homes.com

Homes.com joined the CoStar Group’s large family of real estate companies this year. This site is especially helpful for homeowners looking to purchase parcels in residentially zoned areas to build a new home. To find lots and land for sale, simple select the Lots/Land option in the Home Type filter option on any listings result page. They also have dedicated pages with solely land listings.


 

Trovit

Trovit is a vertical search engine that incorporates real estate listings from third-party sites and contextual search ads. To see land offerings, select the Land for Sale option in the drop-down menu near the upper-left-hand corner.  Since individual listings show the name of the originating real estate firm, this is a good way to get familiar with smaller, lesser known listing sites, who specialize in land sales.


 

United Country Real Estate

United Country Real Estate has been a leader in the lifestyle and country real estate industry since 1925, declaring that they are the largest seller of lifestyle, land and country properties. They specialize in a variety of rural real estate for sale including: country homes; ranches; horse properties; farms; waterfront property; recreational property; and mountain property. An easy way to get a sense of their breadth and depth of listings, be sure to browse their lifestyle collection page to find out, for example, how many vineyards or equine properties or alternative energy properties are currently listed.


 

Additional Sites Listing Land for Sale


 

Land Buying Resources


 

Related Articles

 

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