In an indication of how much business is done online these days, brokers in PotlatchDeltic’s Preferred Broker Network are sometimes asked whether it’s important to visit a recreational property before considering an offer.
“Along with using maps, photos, videos and other tools, it’s a good idea to see the property for yourself if you can, unless you’re a neighbor or already know the property well,” says Tom Moore of Northwest Land & Lifestyle Properties, a PotlatchDeltic preferred broker near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Buyers can’t have complete knowledge of what they are purchasing without seeing the property in person, Moore says. “The key is being confident that the land is a good match with your objectives,” he says, “which requires seeing it.”
Here are six things to focus on as you walk the property with your broker:
- Make sure the property has the level of access you’ll need for the activities you plan to do. Will the entrance roads be passable in the winter, or after a lot of rain? And will the access be sufficient if you decide to build on the property?
- Review the stands of trees on the property, learning about the trees’ overall health, when they will mature, and how the timber and underbrush work as cover for wildlife. Whether you are looking at the timber as an investment or not, the health of the forest is important.
- Look at food sources, tracks, and water sources to learn more about the quality of wildlife on the property. This will help you determine what steps you may want to take to improve the property over time, while assessing its quality for hunting now.
- Check out neighboring properties. Are they aesthetically pleasing, and do the neighbors use quality timber practices and sufficient fencing? Also, are neighbors encroaching on the subject property with a structure, junk, or anything else that would encumber the property you are interested in acquiring?
- Learn about the trail system through the property and how the trails connect to other properties. This is important as you gauge opportunities for riding ATVs, or for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in Northern areas.
- See how close utilities are, in case you want to build a cabin. Even if a map shows that a power pole is nearby, you’ll need to see if there would be any challenges in getting power to your home site.
How long should you plan to spend on a site visit? Every property is different, but as one rule of thumb, Moore suggests taking two hours to walk a 20-acre parcel.
And even though spring has not totally spring and winter is upon us, in many areas, wintertime site visits can be extremely productive, even in Northern states like Idaho and Minnesota.
“If you are interested in buying a property to use in 2018, go ahead and schedule a visit now,” Moore says. “Even if you won’t be using the property until late spring or early summer, it’s good to go ahead and narrow your choices so you are ready to have the property when the weather warms up.”
Moore and the other brokers in PotlatchDeltic’s Preferred Broker Network have the skill, experience and local knowledge to match your needs with the best property for you. Contact one of them today to get started.