Pros and Cons of Buying Land in North Carolina

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Pros and Cons of Buying Land in North Carolina
By

Bart Waldon

If you're considering purchasing land in North Carolina, you probably have questions about the pros and cons. As an investor or future resident, you want to make sure it's the right move. This in-depth guide examines everything you need to know before buying land in the Tar Heel State.

Get to Know North Carolina

Before weighing the pros and cons, let's start with an overview of North Carolina itself. Located on the Atlantic coast, North Carolina is home to over 10 million people. It has a diverse landscape ranging from scenic beaches to the Appalachian Mountains. Major metro areas include Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Wilmington among others.

The economy thrives on banking, technology, research, and agriculture. North Carolina grows abundant crops like tobacco and sweet potatoes. It's also home to prestigious universities including Duke, Wake Forest and UNC Chapel Hill. Popular tourist attractions can be found across the state like the Biltmore Estate in Asheville and Cape Hatteras beach.

The Advantages of Buying Land in NC

When it comes to the pros, North Carolina has a lot to offer land buyers and investors:

Gorgeous Scenery and Recreation

One enormous perk is North Carolina's natural beauty and ample recreation. You'll find everything from picturesque trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains to endless beaches along the Outer Banks. The varied geography provides options whether you like majestic vistas or strolling oceanfront boardwalks.

Booming Population and Job Growth

North Carolina's population expanded by over 10% in the past 10 years. People continue flocking here seeking affordable homes and plentiful jobs. The Triangle and Charlotte ranked among the fastest growing metro areas in 2021. More residents means more demand for developable land across the state.

Lower Cost of Living

The cost of living in North Carolina is more reasonable than many other East Coast states. Both housing and land prices tend to be below the national average. This gives you more purchasing power compared to other regions.

Tax Benefits for Businesses and Retirees

Tax rates in North Carolina are quite attractive. The corporate tax rate is the lowest nationwide at just 2.5%. Retirees also benefit from no tax on Social Security income or pension payments. Overall, the tax burden is one of the most affordable.

Range of Investment Opportunities

You can find profitable land investments in bustling cities, quaint small towns and everywhere in between. Investors flock to Raleigh for tech and Durham for healthcare. Wilmington and Asheville draw tourists plus new residents. With varied metro areas, NC offers options galore.

Quick Appreciation Potential

While NC has affordable prices now, land values are projected to rise quickly in coming years. Areas near growing job centers tend to see the fastest appreciation. This gives you a chance to buy land while it's still reasonably priced and watch values climb.

Factors to Consider Before Buying NC Land

Of course, North Carolina isn't perfect. There are a few potential cons to factor into your decision:

Hurricane Vulnerability Along the Coast

North Carolina has extensive coastline, which unfortunately comes with hurricane risk. Storms batter the Outer Banks and southeastern counties every few years, sometimes causing severe damage. Flooding can occur deep inland too. Definitely research storm history for any coastal land purchase.

Hot and Humid Summers

If you don't handle heat well, NC's summers may be a negative. Temperatures often reach the mid 90s and the humidity makes it feel even hotter. Plus, summer lasts a good six months from May to October. Make sure you can tolerate sweaty summers before relocating.

Property Tax Variation Across Counties

While overall tax rates are reasonable, property taxes vary widely across North Carolina's 100 counties. The lowest is 0.47% but the highest reaches 1.28%. Check the specific county tax rate before you commit to buy.

Lengthy Development Approvals

Getting land development projects approved can be tedious in North Carolina. Strict permitting processes through local, state and federal agencies take time. Patience is key for developers planning commercial projects or subdivisions.

High Competition in Hot Markets

Prime parcels go fast in booming cities like Charlotte and Asheville. Bidding wars sometimes break out over the most coveted land. If set on living in these high-demand areas, you may need to compromise on land size or condition.

Homeowners Association Restrictions

If looking at communities with a homeowners association, read the covenants carefully. Some prohibit parking RVs, running home businesses, raising chickens and other activities. Make sure the HOA rules work for your plans.

Tips for Buying Land Wisely in NC

If you decide the pros outweigh the cons, here are tips for buying land smartly in North Carolina:

  • Hire a savvy local real estate attorney to review purchase documents.
  • Inspect any land first-hand to check for flooding, easements, and other issues.
  • Research property taxes and development ordinances thoroughly for the specific area.
  • Be ready to act quickly for desirable parcels in competitive markets.
  • Consider owner's title insurance for added legal protection.
  • Pre-qualify for financing to make your offer more attractive.
  • Drive around the neighborhood at different times to assess noise, traffic and other factors.
  • Envision how you want to use the land for best selection.
  • Vet any shared community rules before purchasing.

Should You Invest in North Carolina Land?

North Carolina offers many benefits that make it an attractive place to invest in land. However, there are also drawbacks to consider. Looking at the key pros and cons can help you decide if it's a good fit.

Pros of Investing in NC Land

Population and Job Growth

North Carolina has seen rapid population growth over 10% in the last decade. Employment opportunities are also increasing, especially in metro areas like Raleigh and Charlotte. More people means more demand for housing and land.

Lower Costs Than Nearby States

Real estate in North Carolina costs less than neighboring states on the East Coast. Both land and home prices are typically affordable. This gives investors more purchasing power.

Variety of Markets

You can invest in bustling cities like Durham or quiet mountain towns like Boone. North Carolina has metro areas to match different interests.

Cons of Investing in NC Land

Storm Vulnerability on the Coast

Hurricane season brings threats of property damage, flooding and storms surges along the coast. Insurance rates also tend to be higher in these regions.

Heat and Humidity

Summers are quite hot in North Carolina with high humidity. The climate may be unpleasant for those who prefer more mild weather.

High Competition in Some Markets

Popular areas like Asheville and Charlotte see fierce competition for prime parcels. Less desirable land may be your only affordable option.

For many investors, the pros of North Carolina land outweigh the cons. Just be selective in researching the right market and neighborhood for your goals. Proper due diligence is key prior to purchasing any parcel.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the advantages seem to outweigh the drawbacks for most buyers. North Carolina offers natural beauty, affordability and a stellar quality of life. Just be selective in zeroing in on the right market and parcel for your needs. Perform due diligence like inspections and tax research before purchasing.

With proper prep work and realistic expectations, you can likely find great land investment opportunities or future home sites in the Tar Heel state. North Carolina's glowing population and job growth provide a strong foundation. Take time to weigh the pros and cons carefully based on your own lifestyle and goals. For many buyers, the scales will tip favorably towards making a land purchase in North Carolina.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are property taxes like in North Carolina?

Property tax rates vary significantly across North Carolina's 100 counties. The average is around 0.85% but can range from 0.47% to 1.28%. Be sure to research the specific tax rate based on the county and city of the land you're considering.

How expensive is land in North Carolina?

Land prices are quite affordable compared to many other East Coast states. The median price per acre in NC is around $4,000. However, land near booming cities like Raleigh or tourist destinations like Asheville tend to be pricier. Remote rural land is generally the lowest cost.

What restrictions come with HOAs?

If buying in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, read the covenants thoroughly. Some HOAs prohibit activities like parking RVs, raising chickens, running a small business from home, or painting your house bright colors. Make sure you can live with the rules.

How long does the development approval process take?

Plan for an extensive process if you want to develop land commercially in North Carolina. Getting permits and approvals from local, state and federal entities often takes 12-18 months. Hire professionals familiar with NC regulations for the best experience.

Is financing readily available?

Yes, land financing is accessible in North Carolina at competitive rates. Shop around among mortgage lenders and banks to find the best terms. Going through the pre-approval process can strengthen your buying position.

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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