Florida land for sale: How to locate, analyze, finance and close a land purchase.
With the advent of online sources finding land for sale in Florida is easier than ever. The downside of having land listings at your fingertips is that everyone else sees the offerings in real time and if you aren’t quick enough to move you can miss out on the best deals. A real estate Broker who specializes in land sales is a great resource to find out about the latest listings, motivated sellers and off market properties.
How’d you like that pitch? Now on to the information.
Where to find off market properties in Florida
Local newspapers and classifieds: Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t have the internet and they post in all sorts or print advertising.
Property Tax Records: Research public property tax records to identify absentee property owners. Reach out to them to see if they’re interested in selling.
Real Estate Investment Clubs: Join local real estate investment clubs or associations. These groups often have members who are knowledgeable about off-market properties or might be looking to sell.
Real Estate Wholesalers: Wholesalers specialize in finding off-market properties and often have a network of leads. They might be willing to share potential opportunities with you.
Online Platforms and Forums: Some websites and forums cater to real estate investors and provide spaces for off-market property listings. Websites like BiggerPockets and Craigslist might have hidden gems. Social media groups are a good way to network with land sellers.
Real Estate Agents and Brokers: While most properties listed by agents are on the market, some might have connections to off-market opportunities. At Realworks LLC we talk with land sellers who often don’t want to list on the open market but would consider a sale. Build relationships with local agents who specialize in land sales. (There is that shameless plug again).
Types of Land in Florida
The Florida land market is as diverse as the state itself, there is far to many types (and sub-types) to list here. Following is a list of the most common types of land found in the “Sunshine State”.
Coastal and Water front: Property on the water can be very expensive, (thanks Capt. obvious) but it’s not just beachfront you will find. In Florida there is over 1300 miles of coastline from the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast to the Atlantic on the East side. When you factor the 10 of thousands of miles of freshwater lakes and river shoreline, there is bound to be a spot that fits your wants, needs and budget.
Suburban Residential building lots: These tracts have already been subdivided and are generally ready to build. However, check with local zoning to verify building feasibility. Also, in Florida there are many places where municipal sewer and water are not available and will require the use of a private well and septic. Electricity power can be a distance from the property and require an extra expense for hookups. (contact Sid@realworks1.com for more info on the added costs involved and a list of local service providers).
Development Land: The days of buying a parcel of land and splitting it up to sell or turning it into a commercial property without Government approval has been over in Florida for some time. Florida has a Comprehensive Plan which is a state-mandated land use planning framework that guides the growth and development of local communities throughout the state. It provides a blueprint for managing growth, protecting natural resources, and promoting sustainable development. The Comprehensive Plan covers various aspects of land use and sets boundaries for housing, infrastructure, conservation, transportation, and more. Before closing on the land deal of a lifetime ask your broker about the feasibility of future use within the comprehensive plan and help with contacting local zoning during due diligence period.
Agricultural land: Temperate climate zones and fertile soil has made Florida one of the largest producers of agricultural products in the United States. As of the last estimate (2021) Florida had approximately 9.3 million acres of agricultural land in production. This includes a variety of agricultural uses such as row crops, citrus, livestock / grazing, timber, nurseries, horse farms and more. Florida’s climate has two main temperature zones: Tropical (extreme South Florida) and Sub-Tropical (Central to North Florida), keep this in mind when planning what type of agriculture you would be planning for your new piece of land.
Recreational Land: Florida’s natural beauty and natural area offers opportunities unlike anywhere else. If you are looking for a place to go RVing / camp, hunt, fish (fresh or saltwater) or just stroll through nature there are endless possibilities to own tracts from just a few acres many 100’s of acres. You can also buy land and make it a permanent conservation property so that it will never be developed. For more details on conservation go to https://conservationfla.org
How to finance your land purchase
Financing land is a bit more challenging than your typical residential home loan. Some lending institutions will not lend on unimproved land so if you cannot pay the full purchase price in cash from your current funds here are some options.
Bank Financed Land loans: contact the lender of your choice and find out if the lend on land. Credit unions and local banks are great places to find financing. Keep in mind, land loans are often shorter term with higher interest rates. If it is a rural property (or more than 10 acres) Farm Credit might be your best bet.
Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit: If you own a home with equity, you might be able to use a home equity loan or line of credit to finance the land purchase.
Seller Financing: In some cases, the landowner might be willing to offer financing directly to the buyer. This can involve negotiating terms such as the down payment, interest rate, and repayment schedule. There are some compliance issues under the Dodd- Frank act, you can find a brief overview here; https://www.nar.realtor/reports/seller-financing-impact-of-the-safe-act-and-the-dodd-frank-act More about seller finance here: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/10/should-you-use-seller-financing.asp
USDA: The USDA offers loans to buy or expand farms for more information visit; https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/farm-ownership-loans/index
CYRR Loans: Call Your Rich Relative loan (tongue firmly in cheek, sort of). You might be surprised to find out someone you know with disposable income is interested in a joint venture. Financing by a private party has finance laws which require compliance. (See links in Seller Financing above).
Hard Money: Hard money loans are often used by real estate investors and developers who need quick access to capital or who may not qualify for traditional bank loans due to an unconventional situation. These loans typically require a higher down payment and interest rate.
Closing the Purchase:
Title search: You will want to verify that the person or entity that is selling the land has clear title. A title search is performed by a Title Company and/or Attorney who will then issue a title policy. If you have a lender they will usually require you provide them with a title policy as well. The cost of title insurance varies depending on the purchase price.
Survey: It is likely you will need a new boundary of the property for the title insurance company to underwrite a policy. (A previous survey is sometimes acceptable for vacant land, if there have been no changes and it is a cash purchase). The cost of a new survey is negotiable, but typically is the responsibility of the buyer. Costs vary widely, It is best practice to get several price estimates from surveyors.
Closing Escrow: It is common practice for the Title Company or closing Attorney to hold the escrow deposit and then the closing funds to be disbursed to the parties according to the purchase agreement. The closing agent generally charges a closing fee on top of the cost of title insurance and closing fees. Contact Sid if you would like an estimate of closing costs.
If you are looking to own your next piece of Florida land or have land to sell, Realworks LLC and Sid Stidham Specialize in land a rural lifestyle properties. Reach out anytime for a no obligation conversation.
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At Realworks LLC, we firmly believe that private property rights are fundamental cornerstones of a prosperous and just society. These rights provide individuals and businesses with the foundation to thrive, innovate, and contribute to the well-being of our communities. We recognize and advocate for the following key reasons why private property rights are crucial:
- Incentive for Innovation and Investment: Private property rights incentivize individuals and businesses to invest time, resources, and creativity into their properties. Knowing that they can reap the rewards of their efforts motivates innovation, economic growth, and the development of new technologies, products, and services.
- Economic Prosperity: A secure system of private property rights fosters economic stability and prosperity by allowing individuals to accumulate wealth, make informed decisions, and engage in trade. This economic freedom leads to the creation of jobs, increased consumer choices, and a higher standard of living for all members of society.
- Personal Freedom and Autonomy: Private property rights empower individuals to exercise control over their possessions, enabling them to make choices about how to use, develop, or dispose of their property. This autonomy contributes to personal freedom and the ability to direct one’s own life.
- Wealth Distribution and Empowerment: Private property rights can be a powerful tool for wealth distribution and empowerment. Ownership of property provides a means for individuals and families to build generational wealth and break the cycle of poverty, fostering greater social equity.
- Rule of Law and Order: A well-defined system of private property rights is essential for maintaining social order and the rule of law. It provides a clear framework for resolving disputes and conflicts, minimizing the potential for violence or instability that can arise when ownership is uncertain.
- Charitable Contributions and Community Development: Private property rights enable individuals to make philanthropic contributions and investments in their communities. Property owners often have a vested interest in the well-being of their neighborhoods and are more likely to contribute to community development projects and initiatives.
Realworks LLC advocates for the protection and preservation of private property rights as an essential foundation for individual freedom, economic growth, environmental stewardship, and societal progress. We believe that by respecting and upholding these rights, we can collectively create a brighter and more prosperous future for all.
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