The time has come for you to find your next hunting property. True, this season has yet to draw to a close, but that doesn’t change the fact you’re entering the best time of year to locate next year’s dream property.
Recent history tells us the recreational real estate market quickly heats up once whitetail season comes to an end. Landowners who held off on selling in order to get one last hunting season in are now putting farms on the market. Hunters who have leased land for years still have “buck fever” and know exactly what they want to find and feel it is time to search for a place of their own.
January and February also allow for tremendous property tours. Sure it is typically frigid, but you can easily see rubs, scraps, and travel patterns due to the reduced foliage. If you’re touring a property and can’t find buck sign… you’re on the wrong property.
Since the market place is primed and you’ve made the commitment to start searching, there are a few things you need to prepare for in order to A) find the right property, and B) simplify the process.
First you must answer the two questions only you can answer. What is my price range (lease or purchase)? How far am I willing to travel (or desired location)?
The answers to these questions will provide the main parameters you’ll follow during your search. Price will dictate the size of the property based upon location. The price per acre can vary drastically based upon a variety of factors with location being a key element. The range of travel will simply provide a geographic region to begin your search.
Moving forward you narrow the search by a list of desired qualities you would like to see in your next property. What habitat are you looking for? What terrain do you require? Do you need a cabin or lodge? Would you like waterfront? Do you need road access? Is income potential important?
Don’t overlook the possibility of income. The first thing that comes to mind is crop leasing, but you can also enroll in a variety of conservation programs that will help offset the cost of owning a property.
Now that you’ve answered these questions you’re ready to actively begin your search. A word of advice is to not go this alone. It will save you time and money in the long run to find a land sales agent who knows the area you’re searching. Quality land specialist will not only help you find the right property but help negotiate a fair price on your behalf. Many land specialists will also know of properties that aren’t officially listed, but are nonetheless for sale. They also have their finger on the pulse of the local market value so you don’t overpay for a property. The best part is, in most cases the agent costs you, the buyer, nothing.
If you opt to go forward with the search on your own there are a variety of resources available that will help you locate properties currently on the market. Landwatch.com, Landsofamerica.com, and Realtor.com are three of the reputable websites you’ll find a vast number of properties to search through.
Regardless of how you conduct your search, with help or without, you don’t want to overlook your neighbors. Many times a buyer finds a property that is near perfect only to be disappointed down the road due to the impact neighboring properties have on their land. Once you’ve focused in on a couple of prospects you need to investigate the properties in the area and make sure their management practices are inline with your own. You may quickly separate the properties simply due to the practices of those around you.
In closing, the questions presented in this story are to help you find the right property and not let emotions cloud your judgment. In some cases a buyer will tour a property and fall in love with it simply because it is new and has abundant wildlife. They later realize some of the key features are missing and are ultimately unhappy with their purchase. If you go through the process of answering these questions you’ll be prepared to guide the search and not have the search process guide you.
Good luck in your search. The property you’re looking for is out there and with a little patience and guidance you’ll be living your dream soon.
Published in December / January issue of Outdoor Guide Magazine
Michael Wardlaw is a Land and Marketing Specialist with Trophy Properties and Auction. As a land owner, journalist, and marketing expert he offers a unique perspective to those looking to buy or sell property in the Midwest. Feel free to visit www.tpalandsales.com or call 314-914-0840 for more from Michael Wardlaw.