Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Land in Illinois

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Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Land in Illinois

Bart Waldon

With over 32 million acres of sprawling crop and dairy farmlands dotting Illinois coupled abundant freshwater supplies and central Midwestern locality - the state presents amenities galore supporting both vibrant agribusinesses and off-grid recreational ventures that land buyers find appealing for varied reasons seeking property investments.

Yet beginner investors underestimating complexities vetting ideal parcels in Illinois often endure hard lessons losing thousands oversights failing accounting land buying pitfalls that professionals navigator out constantly through each transaction advised. We outline the most common oversights uninformed buyers commit purchasing acreages blindly - and how avoiding such issues smarter protects financial interests rather than impairing investments unnecessarily from onset.

Failing Infrastructure Feasibility Studies

Surveying land aesthetics through pretty online listing photos fails deeply investigating infrastructure availability realities supporting intended property usages...which creates massive financial burdens later preparing such ground-up sites from raw acreages towards inhabitable or profitable operations long term.

Avoiding Infrastructure Detours

Wise buyers demand extensive utility feasibility studies on parcels exploring:

  • Electric Grid Proximity - On-Site Connections Viable? New Poles Required Through Forests/Valleys?
  • Water Access Locations - Well Testing Yields & Potability? Municipal Tie-In Needs?
  • Waste Management Options - Septic Field Capacities? Municipal Sewer Lines Proximity?
  • Site Grading Needs - Flood Zone Impacts? Extensive Grading/Fill Required Before Building?

Small upfront investments exploring infrastructure questions impacting improvement costs saves massive headaches down the line.

Neglecting Due Diligence Digging Deeper

Delving beyond superficial land tours briefly, thoughtful buyers undertake rigorous due diligence vetting every property history, adjacent owner and legal authority aspect thoroughly before acquire acreages limiting blowback exposures later from undiscovered issues hidden initially.

Smart Due Diligence Layers

Expert land buyers evaluate:

  • Title/Deed History - Tax Standing? Liens? Encroaching Boundaries? Easements? Mineral Rights Transfers?
  • Parcel Improvements & Inventory - Storage Sheds? Fenced Pastures Inventory? Timber Value Cruise?
  • Zoning Codes/Land Use - Building Allowances? Commercial/Residential Usage Limits? Noise Ordinances?
  • Environmental Analysis - Endangered Species? Waterway Setbacks? Historical/Cultural Site Protections?

Probing beyond surface glimpses helps fully understanding usage limitations, reputational risks from former histories or community headaches certain lands endure by proximity potentially too.

Being Unrealistic on Property Valuations

Overvaluations misguided by emotional thinking rather than rational comps aligned market data pepper Midwestern lands for sale. Yet few sellers facing stagnant listings relent dropping embellished assumptions. Rare buyers brave confronting true realities also enabling fair deals eventually transacting.

Objective Land Valuation Best Practices

Impartial buyers:

  • Analyze Recent Area-Specific Vacant Land Sales - Last 3-6 Months Revealing Absorption Pricing Levels Property Submarkets Support Realistically
  • Study Attributes Like Road Frontage; Zoning Codes; Topography Challenges & Utility Infrastructure Statuses That Sway Appraisal Judgements Site By Site
  • Weigh Listing Location Proximities Regarding Rural Appeal, Job Hubs, Schools Accessibility & Retail Conveniences Shaping Valuations Dramatically Sometimes

Adopting clinical purchase mentalities through prudent comparable sales data applications target realistic owners ready balancing patience with motivated pricing finding buyer compatible equations together over time ideally.

Minimizing Environmental Research

Dismissing environmental property inspections seems financially savvy skipping perceived excessive professional services during acquisitions. But long-term land owners often discover inherited contamination remediation liabilities or building constraints from undiscovered wildlife habitats protected legally after purchases sink in - draining budgets unexpectedly then.

Vigilant Environmental Due Diligence 

Careful buyers mandate:

  • Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments Uncovering Past Land Usage Issues Like Potential Petroleum Leaks, Buried Waste Pits or Pesticide Contamination
  • Wetland Delineation Mapping Helping Understand Protected Marshland Waterway Setbacks Impacting Build Capacities
  • Endangered Species Audits Avoiding Future Headaches From Unknowingly Encroaching Habitats Destroying Discovered Protected Wildlife Zones

Confirming even seemingly pristine acreages face no exposed environmental liabilities or limitations provides true peace of mind post purchases avoiding unpleasant ecological surprises trailing years removed.

Rushing Land Purchase Agreements

After weary property searches uncovering alluring listing gems finally, excited buyers hustle hire attorneys rushing paperwork anxious ensuring ideal parcels don’t slip away if pausing deliberations briefly second-guessing discoveries unearthed.

Patient Purchase Agreements Prevent Problems

But self-disciplined buyers:

  • Resist high-pressure seller pushiness demanding fast document signatures without allowing experienced attorney structure reviews beforehand
  • Insert contingency clauses allowing ample inspection approval periods walking away penalty free if undiscovered flaws detract from deals later
  • Specify clear seller liability definitions for failed property disclosures shielding owners from nasty legal wins later

Refusing hustling straight towards title office document signings day one without consulting smart legal counsel permits placing intelligent protections guarding investments where possible preventing unsavory unbind options down the road.

Selecting Transaction Team Hastily

Sourcing realty transaction professional teams built overnight rushing towards land deal conclusions risks discovering inexperienced shortcomings too late when issues turn complex midstream. Just like home deals, the property buying process demands experienced specialized talents beyond usual brokers - but especially out here in rural regions.

Savvy Illinois Land Buyers Assemble:

  • Local Attorneys: Deep real estate transactional know-hows guide navigating land buying contractual fine print not common across all practitioners in the state plus counseling zoning codes/usage factors well
  • Dealmakers: For higher value unique preserved sites or commercial development plays, leveraging seasoned land broker practitioners opens opportunities beyond MLS listings limitations possibly
  • Survey Crews: Land perimeter boundary disputes emerge often without contemporary steel pin positioning reaffirmations on aging rural transitional deals making updates pivotal preventing future neighbor headaches

Vetting the professional capabilities and right team culture fits ensure players advocate mutual buyer best interests across the entire acquisition continuum - not just initially at the onset.

Overlooking Critical Closing Costs

Eager land shoppers laser focus budgets balancing competitive purchase pricing levels offering just enough wiggle room covering projected improvements/infrastructures cost thinkers assume. But unexpected closing fees easily compound 5-15% past principal land prices alone - blowing contingency cushions quickly then burdening owners.

Accounting For All Ancillary Land Buying Expenses

Diligent buyers predict:

  • Legal Fees – Attorneys charge $750+ helping broker purchase contracts protecting owners navigating documentation properly around everything from title transfers, tax stands, lien releases and zoning codes for intended property usage
  • Title Insurance – Typical title policy fees run around $2 per thousand in purchase price protecting against future claims impeding legal ownership claims from aspects like previously unknown familial heirs suddenly arising later
  • Home & Environmental Inspections – Septic systems, water potability, structural foundation or hazardous materials inspectors charge $400+ assessing safe livability factors on sites involving existing dwelling assets especially
  • County Tax Stamps & Deed Recording Fees – State/local government registrars assess modest $1-$2 per thousand of transaction sale values paying for newly updated land deed recording processes into public records

Scrutinizing all closing fees line items avoids short funding available buying power when unexpected assessments arise unexpectedly having impact on negotiations possibly if banking max budget limitations initially.

Summary: Illinois Land Buying Mistakes Happen Often

Rural real estate across America’s heartland today attracts renewed transplantation enthusiasm as remote work freedoms spread post pandemic triggers newfound desires securing affordable calm sanctuaries away from urban chaos finally prospective possibly too. But heartland development complexities, legal conventions and land valuations uniquenesses remain worlds apart from buying flip-key residential homes across subdivision sprawls. Without proper guidance, missteps costs thousands long run. We help buyers avoid common mishaps!

Partner With Local Land Professionals in Illinois

For individual investors new to niche farmland, recreational or transitional development markets lacking local boots on the ground insights, finding reliable versatile land acquisition allies plugging knowledge gaps on regulations, valuations and network connections provides head starts identifying off market opportunities also. Our team possesses specialized land property experiences helping buyers nationwide secure great Illinois investment lands aligned personal goals and budgets wisely. Contact us to define search parameters matching ideal visions!

Final Thoughts

Reviewing common land buying mistakes suffering unnecessary money losses and preventable legal headaches later allows preparing smarter due diligence checklists safeguarding financial interests beforehand. Small upfront investments exploration feasibility studies, usage codes validations, environmental analyses and patient transaction structuring returns exponential dividends protecting investments long run. As rural development complexities pose unfamiliar hurdles for newcomers lacking local market fluency, the smartest money partners seasoned area land professionals bridging experience gaps sounding advisory warnings regarding valuations, liability exposures and critical contingencies others overlook routinely. Land investments unlock idyllic country lifestyles away from bustling metro sprawls. But ensure proper guidance first avoiding amateur mishaps many regret overlooking once farm livelihoods depend reliable acreages supporting family visions pursued. We help buyers secure ideal Illinois lands every step responsibly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What determines market land values across Illinois counties?

Core pricing influencers include highway/roadway access viability easing builds, proximity nearing metro suburb zones retaining commutable appeals, favorable topographic & environmental conditions allowing myriad uses under flexible zoning codes and available utility infrastructure removing barriers getting sites speedily livable ultimately.

Who holds liability on undisclosed existing land contamination?

Unless sales contracts explicitly define scenarios releasing sellers from hazardous environmental remediation responsibilities ultimately, undiscovered pollution issues legally fall upon site owners typically once transactions record legally already unfortunately.

Can I finance raw vacant land purchases in Illinois?

Unlike built homes qualifying for traditional mortgages easily, most vacant lands except subdivision lots require alternative financing through either seller concessions like land contracts or hard money construction lending sources willing accepting raw dirt sites as sole collateral security temporarily. Each option poses tradeoffs.

What is the most important land purchase agreement clause?

Attorneys ensuring contingency stipulations guarantee walkaway outs even forfeiting initial good faith earnest money deposits entirely if unfavorable discoveries arise during due diligence phases prevents buyers wasting bigger financial resources towards deals later deemed unworkable ultimately during deeper analysis before passing points of no returns hypothetically.

What closing costs should I budget inspecting land deals?

Typical closing administrative fees like title insurance, attorney supports, tax stamps, recorder fees and mandatory purchase inspections range costing upwards 5-15% the principal land buy price alone. So, prepare contingency funds expectations avoid shorting available resources securing deals at the finish line unwisely.

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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