4 important tips to follow when buying undeveloped land

Are you thinking about buying some undeveloped land as an investment? Maybe you have plans to resell it in the future, or you're going to try to develop it yourself.

Every successful business venture has a starting point. If this is yours, take the time to read through these tips from the pros about buying undeveloped property:

1. Check for hidden encumbrances

An undeveloped property may have been abandoned by a former owner. There could be tax liens or other encumbrances on the land that aren't immediately apparent. Clearing those may take some effort and money you didn't intend to spend.

2. Get a new surveyor's report

Relying on old land surveys provided by the seller. You should hire your own surveyor so that you gain the legal protections from the surveyor's certificate if there is a problem or boundary dispute later.

3. Research the zoning carefully.

Never buy undeveloped property until you understand all the zoning issues you may face during development. Start by finding out how the property is currently zoned (residential, commercial, industrial or something else) and then see if it fits your long-term goals.

4. Play the long game

Investments in undeveloped land can take years to bear fruit. You have to be insightful about the trends in the area, what investors might see as important or useful if they want to develop the property and expect that you will need to be patient about seeing a profit from your investment.

An attorney who handles real estate closings and land deals may be able to steer you away from trouble once you start getting ready to make a purchase. It's always wisest to get experienced advice before you take any major leaps forward.