Yearning for the Great Outdoors? Smart Tips for Purchasing the Right Recreational Property for Your Needs

Hunting, fishing, boating, and just enjoying the great outdoors is becoming increasingly popular with people from all walks of life. Those who live in urban or suburban areas, however, may feel like the opportunities to enjoy these activities are restricted to public lands or parks, where some of their favorite types of activities may not be allowed. If you are a outdoor recreational enthusiast who has become weary of trying to find land that you can enjoy, it may be time to consider purchasing your own parcel of land and these smart tips can help you succeed.

Choose a property with good potential for multiple recreational uses

The first step in any recreational land purchase should always be to choose a property with excellent potential for more than on type of recreational use. For instance, if whitetail deer hunting is a favorite form of fall recreation and the main reason for the purchase, look for a property that offers a good mix of wooded land with good mast production, as well as a pond, river access, or lake for fishing, boating, or hunting water fowl during other times of the year. Doing this will not only offer the purchaser more enjoyment of the land, but will also expand their ability to find ways to earn a profit from the land by attracting a wider prospective user base.

Determine the most cost effective way to purchase the land

Establishing a budget for the purchase of the land and any associated or recurring costs of ownership is a critical step for success when purchasing recreational land. If possible, get creative and come up with some good ways in which the cost can be made more affordable. Some of these might include:

• partnering with other outdoor enthusiasts to split the cost of the initial purchase, as well as recurring costs after the purchase

• purchasing the property and establishing a small business where others pay daily, monthly, or annual fees to use the property for approved recreational activities

• finding alternate ways to derive value from the land during times when you are not using it, such as growing hay or grain crops on part of it or allowing some of the timber to be selectively harvested each year

• renting it out by the day for use by others, such as area youth groups and organizations, for camping, hiking, swimming, and other events — if you aren’t living on the land, it’ll be important to understand your capital gains tax requirements should it come time to sell in the future

In addition to these ideas, it may be possible to purchase land more affordably by looking for parcels with owners who are willing to offer seller-financing arrangements. Your real estate professional can help you source these listings, as well as assist you with a referral to a qualified real estate attorney who can oversee all the legal documentation required.

Remember to vet all aspects of the purchase carefully to avoid buyer’s remorse after the purchase

Purchasing a large tract of recreational land is usually a major expenditure, so it is important to make sure that the parcel of land and the entire transaction is carefully examined for potential issues before making any purchase offer. Some possible issues that should be considered include:

• existing covenants or deed restrictions that could hamper the buyer’s ability to fully utilize the land for current or future projects • county or other regulations that could limit the usage of the property, such as waterfront easements or restrictions on certain types of activities or improvements

• access issues that could make it difficult or impossible to fully utilize the property or negatively affect the value

• existing boundary disputes with neighboring landowners that could become legal issues

• local economic or other development plans that could negatively affect the property in the future

Since recreational properties can be used for a wide variety of uses, it is usually best to seek out those with few or no regulations or restrictions to simplify the process.

Explore liability and insurance requirements before buying

Another potential issue that can affect enjoyment of a piece of recreational land is the potential for being held financially liable if someone is injured or dies while using the property. Purchasing sufficient insurance against this type of liability, as well as insisting on the use of appropriate safety gear and practices by all users can help to limit this risk.

Choose to work with a local real estate agent with experience in recreational property sales 

Opting to work with a local real estate agent who specializes in the listing and sale of recreational properties can be a great way to learn more about the area, as well as helping to find those off-the-beaten-track properties that will be best suited for years of recreational enjoyment.

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