Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Land in New Mexico

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Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Land in New Mexico

Bart Waldon

New Mexico is a beautiful state located in the Southwestern United States. Known for its diverse landscape, rich cultural history, and thriving arts scene, New Mexico offers endless opportunities for those looking to buy land. However, there are some common mistakes that potential land buyers should avoid when purchasing property in New Mexico. Being aware of these pitfalls can help ensure a smooth transaction and long-term satisfaction with your investment.

New Mexico spans over 121,000 square miles, making it the fifth largest state by area in the U.S. The state’s landscape comprises mountains, high deserts, and fertile valleys. New Mexico has a population of just over 2 million residents and has seen steady population growth over the past decade. The state capital and most populous city is Albuquerque, located in the central region.

Doing Insufficient Research on the Area

One of the biggest mistakes potential land buyers make is not thoroughly researching the area where the property is located. New Mexico has very diverse geographic and demographic conditions across its vast territory. Make sure to understand factors like:

  • Local economic and population trends
  • Typical climate and weather patterns
  • Prevalence of natural hazards like floods or wildfires
  • Accessibility of the property and distance to key amenities
  • Zoning restrictions and other local ordinances

Not fully grasping these elements can lead to unpleasant surprises after closing on your land purchase. Drive or walk the property yourself and talk to locals to get on-the-ground insights before buying.

Failing to Inspect the Property Thoroughly

Another common error is not personally viewing and inspecting the land before purchasing. Issues like squatter dwellings, excessive garbage dumping, impediments to building, and lack of legal access can go unnoticed if you buy sight unseen.

Walk every inch of the property lines to identify any encroachments, easements, drainage problems, or other complications. Inspect foundations, roads, fencing, and utilities for deficiencies too. Hiring a professional survey crew and soil tester provides further assurance about what you’re buying.

Not Confirming Water Access

Lack of water access is a perpetual challenge across New Mexico’s arid expanses. Don’t assume water is available on site or can be easily obtained from wells or municipal hookups. Closely investigate the water situation by:

  • Reviewing seller’s documentation of existing water rights
  • Researching the local water table depths and output feasibility
  • Checking municipal water system proximity and distribution plans
  • Testing on-site well water quality and production volume

Without solving the water needs, your land value and usability will be severely hampered.

Ignoring Easements and Right-of-Ways

Failing to identify easements and right-of-ways on the property is another common blind spot for land buyers. Utility companies, government agencies, or neighbors may have legal rights to access sections of the property for maintenance, infrastructure, or passage.

Review the preliminary title report, survey plat, county records, and conduct visual inspection to discover any unrecorded or prescriptive easements before finalizing purchase. Wise buyers confirm exactly what type of access or land use limitations exist.

Not Checking Permit and Building Requirements

Those looking to construct structures on vacant land should research relevant permit stipulations in the county, city, township, or development district where the parcel is located. Building codes, zoning density, construction material regulations, necessary studies, impact fees, and inspection protocols vary significantly across New Mexico.

Misunderstanding these key rules can delay your development plans for months or even prevent building altogether. Connect with local planning departments early about intended usage to avoid problems.

Paying Too Much Due to Over-Valuation

Overpaying for land is easily done in today’s hot real estate market across much of New Mexico. High listing prices or personal emotional attachments can cloud objectivity about actual value. Just because an acre of land is listed at a certain price point does not automatically make it worth that amount.

Work with an experienced local real estate professional to run comparative market analyses on recent sales of similar nearby parcels. This helps determine fair market value pricing to inform negotiations. Getting personally tied to a property often elicits over-eager offers too, so remain grounded when evaluating deals.

Not Accommodating Long Listing Periods

Another reality buyers must remember is that vacant land parcels often sit on the open market for extended timeframes before selling in New Mexico. Factors like remote locales, niche demographics, lack of infrastructure, complex titles, or inactive sellers extend the typical listing duration.

As such, buyers should prepare for a long selling process even at fair asking prices. On average, expect a 1 to 2-year timeframe to complete a land sale transaction in New Mexico. Set expectations accordingly and avoid frustration with slow sales progress.

Choosing the Wrong Payment Method

How the buyer finances the property purchase also warrants careful evaluation when preparing offers. Mortgage loans for raw land over 5 acres are difficult to secure from traditional banks. This often necessitates paying cash sourced from investments, home equity, retirement savings or other assets.

While this conventional financing route works for some, other options like seller financing, partnerships, installment contracts, and cash home buying companies may better fit specific buyer circumstances and liquidity limitations.

Relying Solely on Home Inspections

Finally, understand that a traditional home inspector typically focuses only on existing built structures and not the vacant land itself. Deficiencies with the land rather than the house constitute the main risk factors on raw acreage.

As covered in other sections, buyers should undertake thorough independent analysis of the parcel’s soils, terrain, boundaries, easements, utilities, water rights, mineral rights and other attributes to make informed purchase decisions.

Working with a Professional Land Company

With many complex steps inherent in buying vacant land in New Mexico, working with a reputable land real estate company like Land Boss simplifies the process. For over 5 years, Land Boss has specialized in land transactions, buying and selling over 100 properties to date.

As cash buyers focused specifically on land deals, the company excels at assessing parcel attributes accurately, determining fair valuations, and closing sales efficiently. Sellers enjoy a streamlined sales process completed in days rather than months, with flexible closing timelines according to individual needs.

Land Boss also pays excellent prices in cash and handles all closing costs and paperwork hassles for owners as part of purchases. With deep roots and extensive land familiarity across New Mexico, the company understands local market conditions and trends to optimize deal terms.

As demonstrated throughout this article, buying land in New Mexico does come with certain mistakes to avoid during property evaluation, negotiations and due diligence. However, by partnering with area experts like Land Boss, both buyers and sellers can tackle even complex sales effectively.

Final Thoughts

While New Mexico offers infinite scenic beauty and opportunities for land buyers, many potential pitfalls exist too. Mistakes like inadequate inspections, unrealized easements, insufficient water access, and overpaying can turn dream purchases into nightmares. However, following the guidance outlined in this article helps secure deals correctly the first time. Seeking support from proficient local land professionals also works wonders to avoid missteps when buying in New Mexico. With appropriate diligence regarding property conditions and pricing, plus reliable partnerships, land investments in the state will deliver lasting enjoyment for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some key things I should research about an area in New Mexico before buying land there?

Before purchasing land in any part of New Mexico, thoroughly research factors like local economic and demographic trends, typical weather patterns, natural hazard risks, proximity to amenities, zoning rules, and any other ordinances that could impact your plans. Understanding the on-the-ground realities is crucial.

If I buy vacant land sight unseen, what risks could I encounter?

Buying land without personally viewing and inspecting it can mean unwelcome surprises like existing squatter dwellings, excessive garbage dumping, lack of legal access, impediments to building plans, and a myriad of other problems. There could also be unrecorded or prescriptive easements you don't know about. Always inspect first!

What water access issues might I face when looking to buy land in New Mexico?

Water scarcity is common across New Mexico's arid lands. Be absolutely certain of proven water rights conveyance, feasibility of drilling productive wells, proximity to municipal water systems willing to extend service, and the onsite water quality. Lack of water can mean a non-buildable piece of land.

Does vacant land usually sell quickly in New Mexico?

No, raw land parcels often take much longer to sell than existing homes - typically 1-2 years on average for a transaction to complete. Set expectations accordingly and don't get frustrated. The extended listing times are due to remote locales, complex titles, niche demographics, inactive sellers and other factors.

If traditional bank financing is difficult to get for vacant land, what alternatives exist?

Beyond cash, buyers can look into seller financing, partnerships, installment land contracts, cash home buying companies, and other options to creatively finance raw land purchases. Learn the pros and cons of each approach before making offers.

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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