How to Buy Land for Cash in Tennessee

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How to Buy Land for Cash in Tennessee

Bart Waldon

Purchasing land for cash in Tennessee can be a great investment opportunity or way to secure property for personal use. With its diverse landscape and growing population centers like Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee offers many options for land buyers. Here are some tips on how to successfully buy land for cash in the Volunteer State:

Get to Know the Tennessee Land Market

Before you start looking at properties, it's important to understand the lay of the land in Tennessee. Here are some key things to know:

  • Land prices - Prices can vary greatly depending on location. Rural acreage may go for $1,000-$5,000 per acre on average. Land near cities or desirable amenities will be higher.
  • Demand drivers - Proximity to growing urban areas like Nashville and Knoxville is a major demand driver. Recreational land near lakes or mountains also sees strong interest.
  • Property taxes - Tennessee has no state property tax but counties collect tax annually. Rural land tax rates are typically lowest.
  • Mineral rights - It's common for mineral rights in Tennessee to be sold or leased separately from the surface land. This is an important consideration.
  • Zoning laws - Municipalities have their own zoning rules. Know the regulations before buying land in populated areas.

Spend time researching prices, demand trends, and zoning in your desired locations to hone in on good land investment opportunities. Touring areas can also help you get to know local land values.

Determine Your Budget

Land for cash offers require having capital on hand. Determine how much you can afford to invest in a land purchase. Some factors to consider:

  • Purchase price -Aim for parcels priced within your budget parameters
  • Due diligence costs - Factor in expenses for appraisal, title search, inspections, etc. These can cost several thousand dollars.
  • Development costs - If you plan to build on the land, budget for construction, permits, utilities, etc.
  • Carrying costs - Account for ongoing costs like taxes, insurance, maintenance. Leave room in your budget for these.

Save up your cash reserves before making an offer. Aim to have at least 20-25% of the purchase price in cash as a down payment minimum. More is better to make your offer attractive to sellers.

Find Good Land Listings for Sale

Once you know your budget and criteria, it's time to find potential land parcels for sale. Here are some places to search for listings:

  • MLS - Most land is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) via real estate agents. Hire a knowledgeable agent to search for on-market listings.
  • Auctions - Monitor auction sites like for bank-owned foreclosure properties going to auction.
  • Signs/driving - Scour areas by car and look for roadside "For Sale" signs. Jot down the phone numbers and research later.
  • Word of mouth - Networking and asking around about land for sale can uncover deals before they hit the open market.
  • Direct to seller - Some sellers, like farmers or other landowners, may sell directly without listing. Contact them through mailers.

The more effort you put into finding deals, the better chance you have of finding an ideal parcel within your target price.

Determine Your Usage and Type of Land

How do you plan to use and hold the land you buy? This will help determine what type of land to look for. Some possibilities:

  • Recreational land - For personal recreational use like hunting, camping, ATV riding. Look for wooded rural acreage.
  • Farm land - Seek larger acreage parcels with fertile soil and irrigation if you want land for farming.
  • Residential land - If you want to build a primary home, look for land parcels in residential zones near utilities.
  • Commercial land - For retail, office or industrial development, find commercially zoned land near transportation infrastructure.
  • Investment - Seek discounted land with resale potential if you plan to hold as an investment.

Your intended use will guide you in evaluating parcels and zoning regulations. Know how you want to utilize the land before purchasing.

Inspect Properties Thoroughly Before Buying

Once you've identified promising land listings in your budget, dig deeper to vet properties before making an offer. Here are some important steps for due diligence:

  • Travel to see it - Set foot on the land to walk it and assess its condition. Look for any red flags.
  • Get a survey - Hire a surveyor to mark exact property boundaries and check for encroachments.
  • Read title report - Review the title record to see if there are any easements, liens or other restrictions on the parcel.
  • Check regulations - Verify zoning rules and restrictions with the county planning office. Make sure your intended use is permitted.
  • Appraise value - Hire an appraiser to assess the property's fair market value and validate the asking price.
  • Test soil - For farm land, get a soil analysis to ensure it can support crops.

Taking time upfront to inspect the property can help avoid costly surprises down the road.

Make a Cash Offer and Negotiate

Once you've vetted a property, it's time to make an offer and negotiate a deal. Here are some tips:

  • Submit offer letter - Put your offer terms in writing with a price, due diligence period, closing date, and contingencies.
  • Offer earnest money - Include an earnest money deposit of 1-10% of purchase price to demonstrate seriousness.
  • Negotiate tactfully - Be willing to negotiate on price and terms, but avoid overly aggressive lowball offers.
  • Highlight cash terms - Emphasize that your offer is cash and not contingent on financing. Cash offers are most appealing.
  • Move quickly - Be responsive during negotiations and the due diligence process. Speed and efficiency can help your offer beat out competitors.
  • Inspect before closing - Make final walkthrough inspection right before closing to check for any changes in condition.

With a competitive cash offer and savvy negotiating, you can secure Tennessee land at a fair price.

Close and Take Ownership

The final step is to close on the land purchase and take title.

  • Final walkthrough - Do a final property walkthrough 1-2 days before closing to confirm no changes.
  • Closing docs - Review all closing documents closely and ask questions before signing.
  • Transfer funds - Wire or deliver the full purchase price funds according to closing agent's instructions.
  • Get keys & docs - Collect keys, recorded deed, title insurance policy at closing.
  • Visit assessor - File deed with county assessor and provide updated contact info for tax notices.
  • Change over utilities - If applicable, call providers to change electric, water, etc to your name.

With keys in hand and deed recorded congratulations - the land is officially yours! Now you can move forward with your plans to enjoy the property.

Finding the Right Agent Can Help Streamline the Process

While it's possible to buy land on your own directly from sellers, working with an experienced real estate agent or land broker can streamline the process.

Agents have insider access to MLS listings and off-market deals. They can handle contacting sellers on your behalf. A knowledgeable local area agent will have valuable insight into zoning rules, comparable values, and negotiating tactics.

The buyer's agent commission is typically paid by the seller. As a buyer, having representation won't cost you anything extra. Agents are well versed in navigating the paperwork, closing process, and land transfer requirements. They can help troubleshoot any issues that come up. This experience and expertise makes an agent well worth the value add.

Do some research to find a realtor or broker who specializes in land transactions in your desired area. Interview a few to find one you feel comfortable with. Look for in-depth local land knowledge. Having the right agent in your corner can make purchasing Tennessee land go much more smoothly.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing vacant land for cash in Tennessee can be a profitable investment if done right. Find budget-friendly parcels in growth areas by researching the local land market thoroughly. Vet listings in person, inspect before buying, and make competitive cash offers. Work with an experienced real estate agent to help with the buying process. Follow tips like these, and you can successfully buy land for cash in the Volunteer State.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of land sell best in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, recreational land near lakes or mountains sees high demand. Residential acreage near growing urban areas like Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga is also popular. For farming, look for rural land with fertile soil and access to irrigation. Commercial land near transportation infrastructure can be desirable.

How can I estimate the value of Tennessee land?

Research prices for recent land sales in the county to compare. Adjust for property differences like acreage, zoning, and utilities access. Hire an appraiser to assess the market value. Location near attractions like trails, lakes, or towns raises value. Remote, wooded parcels tend to be lower cost.

Should I get a land survey before purchasing Tennessee property?

Yes, a survey is highly recommended to verify legal property boundaries. Surveys can uncover potential issues like encroachments from neighbors. New surveys are not always required at closing, but buyers should review the existing plat and get an updated survey for peace of mind.

What closing costs am I responsible for as a Tennessee land buyer?

Typical closing costs for buyers are title insurance fees, appraisal fee, legal fees, recording fees, and any lender fees if financing. Shop around for quotes as costs can vary. Many title companies offer closing cost estimates online. Plan for roughly 1-5% of purchase price.

How can I find Tennessee land being sold directly by the owner?

The county assessor's site shows property owner names to target with mailers. Knocking on doors of vacant parcels can uncover sellers. Online sites like Lands of America list direct owners. Joining local real estate investor groups can provide networking opportunities and lead sharing.

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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