Vacant land comes in many shapes, sizes, and Tennessee is not an exception. The state offers a variety of property options, with pricing to fit your budget.
Land purchase process overview
- Conduct research about the size of the property, zoning regulations, and other details that could be useful
- Consider how you will fund your purchase, either with capital or via a loan
- Find listings for sale on owner-operated sites and specialist websites such as Realtor
- Create a purchase agreement and offer
- Perform a due diligence on the property (e.g. survey, title search).
- Use a title company or a real estate attorney depending on where you are located (typically an attorney in Tennessee) to coordinate and close the transaction
You can find land for sale in the mountains and foothills regions requiring a drive up winding mountain roads; exclusive homes nestled in secluded valleys and wooded coves; or scenic waterfront property on large lakes.
Sections of land are offered for sale in most areas of Tennessee. Though it is not unusual to find a parcel with a mixture of forests, fields, and streams. Many lands are too steep to farm or can’t be cultivated, but wildlife have found the terrain ideal for living and hunting. It is not uncommon to own the land but not have use of lots or strips of land on your property. You may see this as a disadvantage but in reality it is an asset because the space between parcels can be used as common property.
Here’s more information on how to buy land in Tennessee:
Understanding title issues when buying land
Most of the time, people buy land without encountering title issues. The property records are clear and untampered, and there is no recent history of liens. However, sometimes buyers run into problems with unclear deeds or improper transfer of property rights to a third party. If you want to better understand how to buy Tennessee land, you need to be aware of these problems or hire professional help to guide you through the process – likely an attorney and a real estate agent.
Researching vacant land for sale in Tennessee
While many people focus on the properties that are advertised online, there is actually a lot to find by searching in person. You can contact local realtors who represent property owners. Some realtors offer “negotiated” pricing—that is, they work with you to find an offer that you both can live with.
Once you find a property you like, it is worth spending time to conduct your own research into whether it is right for you.
Basic services to consider when purchasing land in Tennessee
In most cases, the water and septic systems are handled by a district. You can contact your county to identify whether or not you bear accountability for impounding water. If you want your land to be available for commercial use, you’ll need access to drinking water. In order for a piece of land to be used as an effective farm, it needs to have access to water. This is because without water, the soil will become too dry and spongey for crops. The result would be very few crops grown on that land.
You can find out by contacting the power company in your jurisdiction. You will have to pay for the electricity, and your agreement is binding. In most cases, taxes on electricity are based on a cost-of-service (COS) rate which is not variable with inflation. As a result, you might pay more than you would if electricity were included in the purchase price of your property.
Many land owners pay local commercial or government entities to maintain the roads on their property. The costs of maintaining the roads differs by county, and these costs will be outlined in your purchase agreement. You can use this information to help you decide whether or not you should enter into a purchase agreement. In order for a property to be used as an effective farm, the land needs access to water.
You need to get clear on whether there are any liens or other legal encumbrances on a piece of land you might want to purchase. A good title search will identify any outstanding issues and allow you to better understand how to buy land and in a timely manner.
You need to understand the exact boundaries of what you are purchasing, and a survey will help with that. There is often more land than shown on a recorded deed, or some areas might not be included in the purchase. A good survey will help avoid hidden surprises.
Renting land in Tennessee
In order to connect to the telephone system, you need to have a phone line between your land and the local switching station. If you want to make local calls, you will need a second line that is connected directly to the switching station. This will cost money from your pocket, but it is a worthwhile investment when it comes to managing your land.
In order to connect to the internet, you need a broadband connection. You will have to pay your provider for service, and all of your payments are binding. Depending on where you are in Tennessee, you might find it difficult to get an affordable broadband connection. Satellite internet is increasingly more common and might be available where you are. Companies such as Starlink are game-changer for remote locations!
You will have to hire a hauler to pick up your garbage each week. You may need to pay upfront for the entire year, or you might need to pay on a monthly basis. This service is just like any other service that requires payment in advance, but there are no convenient alternatives. Recycling is also often offered as part of the basic garbage removal package, which means that you won’t need to invest in additional equipment.
If you have a rural mailing address, you will have to either have a mailbox or some sort of distribution point such as a post office box. The mail carrier will visit your location once per week in order to deliver mail and packages to you.
Cable and Internet TV
You may or may not be able to get these services, depending on the location of your property.
Other things to consider when purchasing land
Building Codes – you should make an assessment of what building requirements are in place for your property. If you need to build any structures on your property, you will need to know if there is a local building code that outlines acceptable construction methods.
Rules – if any rules apply in the area where you are considering purchasing land, you will have to figure out what they are. The county office is typically the best place to get started – give them a call.
Property Size – depending on the property, there might be limitations on how much land you can own. Be sure to take this into consideration when looking for land.
Conservation Easements – easements are essentially state laws that create restrictions on the type of development that can be done on a piece of property. It is important to research what types of restrictions apply to your property and what steps you might need to take in order to protect those interests.
Property taxes – you will need to consider the amount of taxes you will need to pay each year, along with any penalties or interest.
Land records – in some areas, land records might not be available online.
Where to live – if you are considering living in a rural area, you will probably need to have the ability to drive for at least a short distance in order to get to town. It is important to find an area that has good roads and enough land for your family needs.
Covenants/Restrictions – covenants are sometimes called restrictions, and they are often written into property deeds. They might legally prohibit a specific type of development. Be sure to research the covenants that apply to your property before you buy.
Floodplains – be sure to look around, check the maps online, or ask your realtor about flood plains for your area.
Wildfires in Tennessee – wildfires are a major concern in Tennessee, and most wildfires occur during the spring or summer. Find out more about wildfire risk for your area.
Employment – if you plan to relocate, it will help tremendously to find a job in the new area. Research the local job opportunities and get an idea of what kind of work is available.
Healthcare – providers and hospitals where you live are most likely different from where you currently reside. Finding out what healthcare options are available for the type of care your family needs is important. Check out hospitals in Tennessee or community clinics near your new home.
Weather in Tennessee – Is it warmer? Colder? Are there seasonal changes? Winter with snow versus humidity. You’ll want to think about the impact of the weather on your family and how comfortable they will be in your new home.
Property Insurance – You’ll want to ensure that you have coverage. For vacant land, you don’t need to purchase as much as you do if you have a house on the land. But, it is important to have the land insured.
Topography – Land parcel layout and topography can affect how much it will cost to add in expenses such as fencing. If you have a source of water on your land, you’ll need to know what the restrictions are.
Outstanding liens – be sure that if there are liens on the land that you know if they were created prior to your purchase. Sometimes, a lien is actually beneficial because it guarantees that someone is accountable for the debt, which may help when litigating over who has paid for repairs or improvements made on the property.
Demographics – when you purchase real estate, the county you move to determines how it is assessed for property taxes. Some counties are more desirable than others. People move for better employment opportunities, lower taxes, lower crime rates, and the amenities of a larger city.
Schools – the schools in your area will affect where you want to live and if you’ll be able to afford it. Schools are important for your children’s education and also have an effect on property values.
Environmental Factors – Before purchasing vacant land, you should research the natural features of your land. You’ll need to consider if the land has been used for farming in the past, if it has any environmental concerns that might be relevant, and if there is a history of wildlife in the area.
Popularity – While popularity is not a buy or don’t buy factor, it is an important consideration when buying land. Places that are known as vacation spots might not be places you want to live. Places with great schools might not be places you want to raise children.
Property Access – Vacant land may be difficult to access. You’ll want to know the distance needed for a regular vehicle, snowmobile, or ATV from your property to reach the pathway system and local roads. Be sure that the location you plan to buy is accessible for you. For example, do you have a large vehicle? Is it difficult to narrow driveways? Are there issues with curb cuts in your area? Is there easy access to grocery store or health services? One of the most important factors in where we live is accessibility.
Regional Geography – be sure that you know the geographic features of your area, such as mountains, rivers, roads, and so on. All of these are regional features that have an effect on your property value and the cost of living in your new area.
Zoning – Before purchasing land, be sure to research what zoning (or other land use) codes may apply. Zoning is used as a method to manage or control certain types of development in an area. Vacant land might not be zoned for residential use.
Supply and Demand – If you purchase land that is similar to the amount of vacant land for sale in an area, it could have a negative effect on your local market price. The same is true for vacant land with good access that increases the supply and lowers the demand (thus lowering the price).
Utility Lines – Vacant land may have been used for power lines in the past. You’ll want to know if there are utility lines on the property and if they are still active or inactive.
Land Features – The owner of the land should know if they own mineral rights because it can affect what they can and cannot do with their property. If the land has environmentally sensitive features, the owner should be aware of this.
Easements and Rights of Way – Vacant land may have easements that limit what the owner can do with their land.
Land Composition – Vacant land can be made up of lots of different things, including dirt, gravel, sand, clay, rock or forest. While the composition may not affect the price of a piece of property, it is one important factor in finding what best meets your needs.
Local Taxes/Assessments – Purchasing land can have a significant impact on the taxes you pay. Local taxes typically vary from county to county, and one of the most important things to consider if you move is how it will affect your taxes.
Normal Weather Conditions – Know what the average temperatures are and what to expect in terms of precipitation. You’ll want to account for snowfall or drought when considering where to buy land for sale in Tennessee.
To conclude, research vacant land in Tennessee and figure out if it is a good fit for your family. You should also consider whether you can obtain bank financing for the property. Good credit and a bank account in good standing are two of the most important needs when purchasing land.
Buying land for sale to build a home or to farm can be challenging, especially if you don’t have experience building housing structures or other types of property that has led to minimal exposure to the real estate market. The above tips will help you in purchasing vacant land in Tennessee.