The market for homes and especially lots is really odd right now. Because of the bad economy, developers stopped developing for the most part. Which means improved lots were few and far between. When we initially started looking and found nothing desirable in our price range, we started exploring other avenues and tried to think outside the box. Here are a few of things we did and that you might consider if you are looking for land as well:
- Purchasing a couple acres of undeveloped land and developing it. This option is a lot easier if you know someone who can develop, but if not just look around! Talk to friends and family and see if anyone knows of a developer that might be willing to partner with you. You can save A LOT of money going this route- to the tune of 50-100k. It may seem intimidating at first, but don't limit yourself to what is "normal".
- Hitting the ground. Lance and I spent a lot of time driving around the neighborhoods we liked. There were a surprising amount of lots that were for sale, but weren't listed on the MLS.
- Search the classifieds. We spent a lot of time searching KSL, our local classified website. The lots and homes listed there were typically a few thousand dollars cheaper because the seller wasn't having to pay a commission to a real estate agent.
- Search land records. Most cities and counties have all of their land records available to the public online. Our county even had an ipad app that was easy to navigate and would show parcel numbers and the owner's name real time. We browsed the areas we loved and sent out letters, asking if anyone would be interested in selling their land.
- Spread the word. You'd be surprised how helpful friends and family are when they find out you are looking for a home or land. You never know who might come across the lot of your dreams! This is how we ultimately found our lot; a good friend in our neighborhood was in contact with a few investors that were willing to sell their lots off-market.
Again, this journey of building a home was entirely foreign to me in the beginning and my hope is that someone else can learn from our experience.