10 Reasons Why We Love Buying Land in Virginia

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10 Reasons Why We Love Buying Land in Virginia
By

Bart Waldon

Virginia is a beautiful state with diverse landscapes from sandy beaches to mountain ranges. If you're considering buying land in Virginia, there are several great reasons to invest in the Old Dominion.

Reasons to Buy Land in Virginia

1. Mild Climate

Virginia enjoys four distinct seasons without extreme cold or heat. The temperate climate makes it comfortable to be outdoors year-round. You can grow a variety of crops and gardens on your land.

2. Access to Cities

The state blends rural and urban with cities like Richmond and proximity to Washington D.C. This gives you the best of both country and metro living when you own Virginia land.

3. Recreational Opportunities

Outdoor enthusiasts will love owning property near hiking trails, lakes, rivers and more. Virginia offers outstanding recreation like hunting, fishing, boating, and swimming for your personal use.

4. Rich History

As one of the original 13 colonies, Virginia has a long, storied past. When you buy land here, you own a piece of the history that helped shape America.

5. Excellent Schools

Some of the top ranked public schools and universities in the U.S. are located in Virginia. Quality education opportunities make it appealing for families.

6. Business Friendly

Virginia prides itself on having regulations and tax rates that welcome entrepreneurs. Operating a small business from your land is very feasible.

7. Wine Region

Northern Virginia's rolling hills house acclaimed wineries in a premier East Coast wine region. Land ownership in wine country is appealing for oenophiles.

8. Low Taxes

Virginia has lower property tax rates than many other states, saving landowners significant money each year.

9. Diverse Geography

You can own mountain vistas, coastal plains, forested acres and more thanks to Virginia's varied geography that spans landscapes.

10. Strong Economy

Technology, agriculture, tourism and other diverse industries provide job opportunities. This brings demand for land as more people move to the thriving state.

Virginia offers natural beauty, mild weather, recreation, history, business opportunities, great schools, and low taxes. For many buyers, the Old Dominion is a dream location to purchase land.

Tips for Finding the Best Land Parcels in Virginia

Here are some pointers for locating fantastic land deals in Virginia:

  • Search online listing websites for sale by owner properties to avoid agent commissions. But also work with a local real estate agent who knows the area.
  • Drive around rural counties looking for vacant lands with just a basic for sale sign. Some great deals aren't advertised online.
  • Walk the property lines to check for encroachments. Also inspect the land's topography and features in person.
  • Research property records at the county clerk's office to identify easements, flood zones or liens before buying.
  • Hire a surveyor to survey the land and make sure the boundaries and acreage match the legal description. This protects you from surprises.
  • Consult locals familiar with the area - farmers, developers, real estate agents - for insights on land quality, drainage, access, zoning and more.
  • Make offers quickly on attractive parcels priced well below market value - they sell fast!
  • Be flexible on your criteria if you can't find the perfect property right away. Great parcels often need some compromise.

Doing careful research before buying land in Virginia pays off for years to come. Be patient and flexible to find a great investment at a fair price.

Avoiding Pitfalls When Buying Virginia Land

It helps to be aware of potential mistakes first-time land buyers often make:

  • Don't just rely on listings or seller claims. Visit each property yourself to uncover issues not visible in photos. Walk the full perimeter.
  • Research zoning, easements and deed restrictions upfront. Make sure you can legally use the land how you intend.
  • Hire professionals for title search and a boundary survey to avoid unpleasant surprises later. A few hundred dollars here prevents major headaches.
  • Inspect access to the property and confirm your rights to use existing driveways or roads. Secure legal access now or pay more later.
  • Have a qualified appraiser assess the property so you don't overpay. They'll consider recent sales of comparable lands and other factors.
  • Watch for "too good to be true" cheap lands that likely have serious encumbrances or use restrictions. Do your diligence.
  • Work directly with sellers instead of agents when possible so more room to negotiate. Be wary of inflated prices.
  • Don't feel rushed into buying by the seller or agent. If you need more time, take it. Careful evaluation today prevents regrets tomorrow.

Patience and thorough research helps avoid costly land buying mistakes. The time invested upfront pays off for years to come.

Financing Your Virginia Land Purchase

You have creative options for funding a Virginia land purchase, including:

Conventional Loans - Banks and credit unions offer real estate loans for vacant land if you qualify. Best rates and longest repayment terms but requires good credit and income verification.

Seller Financing - Some sellers may finance your purchase directly at negotiable terms. Usually shorter repayment periods but avoids bank loan application process.

Home Equity Loan - If you have sufficient home equity, tap it through a home equity loan or line of credit to use for your land purchase. Interest is typically tax deductible too.

Retirement Funds - In certain cases, you may be able to use IRA or 401K funds for a vacant land purchase through self-directed arrangements. Consult a financial advisor on requirements.

Crowdfunding - Pitch your land investment to accredited investors through real estate crowdfunding sites. Once funded, you repay investors over time. Creative way to access capital.

Hard Money Loans - Also called bridge loans, these provide shorter term financing with the land as collateral. Quick access to capital but interest rates are higher.

Get creative in order to buy sooner, even if you don't have enough cash on hand yet. Explore all options to weigh the pros and cons for your situation.

Market Outlook for Buying Land in Virginia

Is now still a good time to buy land in the Old Dominion state? Here are a few factors to consider:

Increasing Property Values - Over the past decade, land values have trended up across most Virginia markets. Ongoing population and job growth should keep demand strong.

Areas Still Affordable - While Northern Virginia prices have risen rapidly, other regions like Roanoke and Shenandoah Valley still offer affordable vacant land compared to neighboring states.

Strong Housing Market - Virginia's housing market has recovered robustly from COVID shutdowns, indicating ongoing popularity as a place to live and invest.

Lower Interest Rates - Mortgage rates near historic lows help buyers lock in favorable financing terms, enabling purchases of larger land parcels.

Diverse Financing Options - New financing models like real estate crowdfunding expand options for buyers who don't have ready cash.

Growing Population - More people moving to Virginia increases housing demand and likelihood of rising property values long-term.

While market timing involves some risks, key indicators still point to Virginia land as a smart investment for a 3-5 year time horizon. Act soon while inventory remains at reasonable prices.

Finding Cheap Land in Virginia

While any land purchase requires smart research, you can increase your chance of buying acreage below market value by:

  • Considering parcels priced well below recent comparable sales and assessed values. Ask sellers if there is room to negotiate.
  • Searching rural counties where overall land prices are lower per acre compared to metro areas. Small towns can yield bargains.
  • Looking for undeveloped tracts lacking improvements like access roads or utilities. Owners typically price these cheaper.
  • Checking for lands limited by conservation easements or other use restrictions which depress prices.
  • Buying during late fall and winter when buyer competition is lower. Summer is peak home and land buying season.
  • Contacting owners of lands with delinquent property taxes to inquire if they'd sell to settle overdue tax bills.
  • Working directly with motivated sellers instead of agents so more room to negotiate discounts. Be willing to pay cash.
  • Monitoring land auction sites but research before bidding to avoid overpaying.

With patience and creativity, you can still find great cheap land deals in Virginia. Focus your search off the beaten path in less desirable locations that require work but offer long-term potential.

Questions to Ask When Viewing Land

When viewing Virginia land parcels in person, make sure to:

  • Inspect the property lines carefully for any encroachments or boundary issues. Look for fence lines, buildings, or vegetation that cross property lines.
  • Check accessibility. Confirm legal road access to the parcel and adequate room for a driveway entrance meeting county standards.
  • Evaluate the topography and drainage. Look for steep slopes, depressions or wet areas that could make building more complex.
  • Research zoning rules and permitted uses before visiting. Make sure the land can legally support your intended purpose and plans.
  • Consider noise sources. Check for proximity to busy roadways, commercial zones, gun ranges or other loud adjacent uses.
  • View sightlines and scenery. Picture how overgrown vegetation could impact future views if it was cleared or trimmed back.
  • Look for any utility easements or right-of-ways crossing the parcel. Confirm whether any restrictions on use exist.
  • Understand what watershed the property is located in and possible impacts on use, landscaping or septic installation.

Asking key questions when viewing land will help you avoid expensive surprises down the road after purchase. Take thorough notes.

Choosing a Home Site on Land in Virginia

If you plan to build and live on your land purchase, tips for picking an ideal Virginia home site include:

  • Consider views and select a site showcasing scenery you'll enjoy from your home. Account for how vegetation growth impacts views long-term.
  • Confirm legal road access to the potential site with adequate room for a driveway. Avoid sites requiring expensive access extensions.
  • Contact local utilities to understand proximity for connections. Look into any easements crossing the property.
  • Evaluate sunlight and pick a site with sufficient direct sun exposure, especially if you want solar power or plan to grow gardens.
  • Inspect topography and drainage to ensure the site doesn't collect water or flood. Watch for very uneven terrain.
  • Review county setback requirements that dictate how far structures must be from property lines, easements, septic fields etc.
  • Test soils to ensure suitability for foundations and septic systems. Remediating problematic soils gets expensive.
  • Consider proximity to loud adjacent uses like major roads that could create noise issues.

Doing your homework to pick the optimal home site on land you're purchasing will prevent headaches and added costs down the road during development.

Process of Buying Land in Virginia

If you've never purchased vacant land, here is a typical sequence of events:

  • Search online listing services, local real estate agents, newspapers, and public records to identify potential parcels for sale that match your criteria
  • Research zoning rules, permitted uses and county regulations before viewing properties seriously
  • Walk the land to view firsthand and take notes. Ask questions from your checklist.
  • For appealing options, pull property records from the county clerk's office to check for easements, deed restrictions, liens and other encumbrances
  • Hire professionals to conduct title search and survey to confirm legal boundaries and identify any issues
  • Consult local area experts to gain insights on the neighborhood, land quality, known issues, and development potential
  • Make an offer once you've completed due diligence and are ready to move forward. Negotiate price and terms.
  • If offer accepted, complete financing and inspections then close on the purchase. Record new deed with county.
  • Take possession and start enjoying your new Virginia land investment!

Understanding the key steps involved helps streamline the process when you're ready to buy your parcel of the Old Dominion! Allow enough time for research and due diligence before closing.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing vacant land in Virginia can be a fantastic investment if done right. With proper research, smart financing, patience, and a good eye for hidden potential, you can secure acres of the Old Dominion to build your dream home, operate a small farm or business, or simply have a private retreat. Do your due diligence before buying, avoid common mistakes like failing to survey, and creatively finance to purchase even if you don't have large savings yet. Rural Virginia still offers reasonably priced parcels if you focus your search in the right areas and act fast when you find a hidden gem. With lush beauty, a mild climate, low taxes and a pro-business environment, the state is sure to remain popular with land buyers for years to come. With a bit of vision and grit, you could be the proud owner of your own slice of Virginia in the near future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some tips for finding cheap land for sale in Virginia?

Look in rural counties outside major cities, seek out parcels without road access or utilities, consider lands limited by easements, search in the off-season winter months, check tax-delinquent properties, and be open to sites with natural flaws or development restrictions. Casting a wide net and getting creative can help you find bargains.

What questions should I ask when viewing Virginia land parcels in person?

Key questions include: Does the property have legal road access? What are zoning rules and permitted uses? Are there excessive noise sources nearby? How will future vegetation growth impact views? Are there any easements or rights-of-way crossing the land? What is the topography and drainage like? Can the site accommodate a home and septic field?

What financing options exist beyond traditional mortgages for Virginia land purchases?

Explore seller financing, tapping home equity lines of credit, using self-directed IRA funds in certain cases, crowdfunding through online platforms, seeking investors to form partnerships, and securing short-term bridge loans for quick financing needs. Get creative!

Should I buy land in Virginia now or wait?

While market timing has risks, key factors suggest now remains a good time - Virginia land values have steadily increased over the past decade, affordable parcels still exist outside crowded metro areas, the housing market is strong, buyer competition is lower in winter months, and interest rates remain near historic lows.

What are mistakes first-time land buyers should avoid in Virginia?

Don't rely solely on listings, research regulations before buying, inspect land carefully in person, get professional surveys, watch for 'too good to be true' bargain pricing, hire a title company, obtain appraisals to avoid overpaying, confirm legal access, and take time to evaluate...never rush into a purchase.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.

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