How to Buy Land in South Carolina
Steps to Buying Land
- Find Land for Sale
- What to Consider When Looking for Land
- Financing Options for Land
- Submitting an Offer
- Due Diligence
Finding Land for Sale
Land Listing Websites
The first step to buying land is finding land for sale. You can search for available properties on gaultland.com, or search on the following land-specific databases below:
These sites primarily include listings from the MLS, but may also have listings for sale by owner. Typically, the MLS listing contact will be a real estate agent representing the seller, or “seller’s agent”. A seller’s agent represents the person selling the property and holds allegiance to that party. For this reason, it is recommended to hire an agent for yourself, also known as a “buyer’s agent”, to represent you in any land transactions.
When searching for a property, working directly with a Land Specialist is your best bet. Gault Land Company Land Specialists have access to every listing on the MLS, as well as off market properties through our extensive network of landowners and industry professionals. While most real estate agents can represent you on land purchases, agents that specialize in land will help you navigate necessary due diligence and legal procedures specific to land purchases. Land Specialists also serve as your personal land consultant to point out ideal features, identify potential issues, and answer questions you may have about the property.
What to Consider When Looking for Land
Each tract of land comes with its own features, covenants, and restrictions. When looking for a property, it is important to consider the following:
- Water – Check to see if city water is available. If it isn’t, you may have to dig a well to serve as your water source.
- Sewer- Similarly, if municipal sewer connection is unavailable, a septic tank will be required before construction can begin.
- Electricity- If electricity is desired on the property and not currently available, a local utility company will need to run an electric line.
A property may not have private or public road access. In this case, you may need to apply for a right-of-way easement to legally be able to use neighboring properties. In addition, if a road needs to be created, it can possibly require land clearing and grading. Your land specialist can help guide you through this and recommend professionals to get the job done if needed.
Covenants & Restrictions
Restrictions, Covenants, Conditions, and restrictions are privately created rules between parties regarding the use and improvement of a property.
- Covenants – Within a contract, a covenant is an agreement to do, or refrain from doing a particular act. Covenants either restrict only the party who signs the agreement or they “run with the land,” passing the agreement along to future property owners. Ex. Requirement of all homes on the land to be at least a specified square footage.
- Restrictions– A restriction is a limitation on the use of the land. Ex. Land may not be used for a business
Financing your land will ultimately come down to how you plan to use the property.
- Farm and Land Loans– Financing through a farm or land loan is typically a long-term (15-20 year), fixed-rate loan. We recommend working with an Ag South Farm Credit loan officer.
- Construction Loans – This type of loan allows the buyer to finance both the land and home construction at the same time. Offered by most lenders, it requires a smaller down payment, and typically has a lower interest rate. To apply for a construction loan, you will need to have hired a licensed contractor and have your plans drafted.
- Lot Loans – If you do not have immediate plans to build on a property, consider a lot loan. However, lot loans are not offered by most lenders due to their high level of risk. They often require larger down payments and have higher interest rates.
- Owner Financing– Sometimes a seller will offer owner financing. The down payment will be determined by the owner, and you can expect to pay higher interest rates than with a conventional loan.
- No-financing, Cash Option
Submitting an Offer
Once you have found a property you would like to purchase, a written offer will need to be submitted to the seller. Your Gault Land Company agent will handle this for you, submitting all necessary paperwork, including contractual terms, and the offer.
Due Diligence is your opportunity to investigate the property, to ensure the prospective property is what the seller claims it to be. This allows you to make an informed decision on whether the land is suitable for your needs. During the due diligence period, you will want to check:
- The Deed and Review Title
- Existing uses of the property
- Covenants and Restrictions
- Pending or past legal governmental actions
- Environmental assets, land and improvement surveys, and tax audits
Your land agent will walk you through a comprehensive list of items to check during the due diligence period. The timeframe of the due diligence period will be negotiated as part of the offer by your contracted land specialist.
If you have any questions about buying land we are available to help. Simply, contact us to get started.