Are you planning on buying a parcel of Maine land this year? If so, you need to know a few things before you start, especially if you are not from here and/or have never purchased land before.
Before you fuel the car or buy the plane ticket, have you considered how you will pay for it? Obviously, if you have cash this item can be checked off your list. If you intend to get a loan to complete the purchase, you should know it is not the same process as getting a home mortgage. Most US banks do not do land loans. So if you planned on using the BIG bank you have a credit card or your home loan with, save yourself a lot of time and money by asking if they will finance raw land. Ask them questions like:
- What down payment would be required?
- Is there a limit on how many acres they will accept?
- Do they do business in Maine?
- Do they have approved appraisers and title companies in Maine?
- Is your credit score high enough for their land loan program?
If you find out they will not do the loan, you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars in travel expenses. There are a few solid lenders who finance raw land in Maine. So if you need financing give us a call to get the list. Also, many sellers will consider owner financing their lands.
Maybe before calling the lenders, you should ask yourself why are you buying land? What is your intended use of the property? Did you get all the information on your target properties to be sure the ground will meet your needs and desires? For example, if you intend to use the land for raising cattle, is the land zoned for that use? If not, you are going to waste time and money coming to see it. Make a list of your concerns and get the answers before you come, a few example as follows:
- Is the zoning in line with your intended use?
- Is the property in a tax program that prohibits your intended use?
- Are the soils OK for your use?
- Does the property have utilities to it? If not and you require them, how far and how much to extend them?
- Does the property have year round access?
CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
The next item of preparedness that I nearly always forget to tell my customers before they get here is the appropriate clothing to wear for a visit to Maine. If you are looking at forested land, for example, and are unfamiliar with Maine, the forest here can be very dense and the ground uneven. Here is a checklist of the minimum gear you should have with you when you come.
- Good pair of boots - waterproof if you have them
- Sun or safety glasses to protect your eyes from tree branches
- Layered clothing options for changing weather conditions
- A waterproof coat
If you are working with one of us to show you the land, the above list will get you by. If you intend to do some exploring on your own, think about the following items:
- A good compass
- Maps of the areas of interest
- Water bottles
- Snow shoes in winter
CUSTOMER OR CLIENT
The final question to ask yourself is are you confident enough to represent yourself or should you hire a broker to help you with the process. If you have the time you can do your own research and represent yourself in the process, but if you do not have time a good land broker is worth a look. Maine does require a real estate agent representing a buyer as a client to have a written buyer brokerage agreement, so if you do decide to go this route be sure to carefully review the contract to see what the agent's and your obligations are to each other.