A Buyer’s Guide to Verifying Vacant Land Sellers

Buying vacant land is an exciting venture, but ensuring the legitimacy of the seller is crucial for a smooth and secure transaction. Once you find the land you want to purchase, and have a contract drawn, here are key steps to take when verifying someone selling vacant land is truly the owner of the property:

Contact a Realtor / Execute a Contract

Not only will they represent you, but they will also assist you with ensuring that you are purchasing the property from a “real” person who truly has a claim to that property. Two forms of photo ID from the owner of the property is pertinent in vacant land transactions. The IDs should be sent over with the fully executed contract from the Listing Agent; if not, the Title Company will reach out to the owner for this information.

Consult a local Title Company

Consult with a local title company to review all documents and ensure legal compliance. A title company will have more insight into the history of the property and could be able to inform you of fraud before any information or funds are exchanged. A title company can perform a title search on the property and that will determine that the seller’s name matches the records and that there are no outstanding liens or disputes on the property.

Research the Seller’s Background

Start by researching the seller’s background. Look for online reviews, testimonials, or any red flags that might indicate potential issues. Reliable sellers often have a positive reputation within the real estate community.

Visit the Property and Surrounding Area

Schedule a visit to the vacant land, accompanied by your realtor or another property professional. Inspect the property boundaries and assess its surroundings. This not only helps confirm the property’s existence but also provides insight into the neighborhood and potential challenges or opportunities.

Verify Zoning and Land Use Regulations

Contact the local planning or zoning department to verify the property’s zoning and land use regulations. Ensure that your intended use aligns with these regulations, preventing future complications.

Request Legal Documents and Disclosures

Ask the seller for any legal documents related to the property, such as surveys, environmental assessments, or easements. Additionally, request full disclosure about any known issues or concerns with the land. The seller not having any materials to provide serves as an obvious red flag that they might not have the rights to the property that they are claiming.

Engage a Professional Surveyor

Consider hiring a professional surveyor to conduct a boundary survey. This ensures that the land’s dimensions match the records and helps identify any potential boundary disputes. Most title companies will accept a survey that is less than 7 years old, however getting a new one completed with your own trusted surveyor can help give peace of mind about the purchase of the property.

Secure a Preliminary Title Report

Obtain a preliminary title report from a title company. This report provides information on the property’s title history, outstanding liens, and any restrictions that may affect the transaction.

Speak with Neighbors

Reach out to neighboring property owners to gather insights about the area and the seller. They may provide valuable information about the land and the seller’s reputation.

By diligently following these steps above, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering issues when buying vacant land and ensure a confident and informed purchase.

Supreme Title makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the matters addressed. 

Please contact Supreme Title with questions you may have.

info@supremetitlellc.com  or reach us by phone at:  321-725-0115