By Caroline Kirby
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced investor, considering the potential liability of a property is often an afterthought for many buying land. While every state has its own laws which certainly curb the liability placed on landowners, there are some things you should keep top of mind to ensure you’re protected.
What is landowner liability?
The National Agricultural Law Center cites landowner liability as being the “duty of care owed by landowners,” and while some states classify liability as more of a general duty of care, others are more specific.
If you open your land up to others for activities such as hunting, fishing, riding ATVs, hiking, camping, etc., then you will definitely want to ensure your property is covered.
Do your due diligence and get clear on the laws in the area where you plan to buy land. Once you know what you’re working with, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from liability issues on your property.
What are potential liabilities on your land?
Every land and region will differ, but in general, there are some common issues that you can get ahead of with a little planning. Regardless of if you plan to live on the property or it will mostly be vacant land, there are some potential liabilities you could be exposed to. The most common issues are often:
• Road or sidewalk defects
• Insufficiently lit areas
• Attractive nuisance doctrine
• Inadequate security
While the other items are straightforward, the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine is lesser-known to many. This is a law in many jurisdictions created to protect children. Cornell Law defines this as “a landowner may be liable for injuries to children who trespass on land if the injury results from a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition.” This is especially applicable to properties that have items such as a dock, a piece of machinery, or even a tiny home that could reasonably attract a child’s attention.
How can you protect yourself from liability?
Whether you’re looking to purchase more land or have owned a property for years, it’s worth taking a look at the following steps to ensure that you and your property are as safe as possible. Want to protect yourself from liability? Follow these steps:
• Take a walk around your property and identify any potential hazards such as potholes, broken equipment, no caution or warning signs, etc. This is especially important if you have a vacant property.
• Speak with an attorney to draft up a liability release form for people who will use or enter your property.
• Create a specific list of rules for activities that you have on your land and ensure they are visible to visitors.
• Look into liability insurance as this could ensure you are protected from all angles.
Manage your risks and protect yourself by getting clear on your legal responsibilities. If you’re looking for more helpful landowner info, check out LandHub’s blog library for more resources!
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by Laura Mueller
You always want to be as protected as possible with any real estate investment that you make. For that reason, it makes sense to look into title insurance when you’re purchasing land. But what is title insurance, and how does it help protect you and your investment? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance is protection against title defects. The title itself is documented proof of ownership and the seller’s right to both possess and sell a particular piece of property. When you buy land, you buy the title, and are from then on the one with those rights.
In a perfect world, all land sales would go smoothly and no seller would mislead a buyer either intentionally or unintentionally. In the real world, however, things happen, and sometimes a title doesn’t turn out to be legitimate. And occasionally, buyers don’t find that out until after the investment has been made and the allegedly legitimate title has been transferred.
Here’s where title insurance comes in. If you have it, you don’t have to worry about losing the investment that you’ve put into a property if it turns out that it was not actually within the seller’s rights to list and sell it. It comes in handy in instances of ownership disputes, as well as in circumstances where the seller had a lien, unpaid taxes, or another property issue that should have prevented them from selling.
Do note that title insurance is different from mortgagee title insurance, which your lender will require you to purchase. Mortgagee title insurance protects your loan provider from title defects, while title insurance protects you.
Cost of Title Insurance
The price of your title insurance will vary depending on who you purchase it from. In general though, expect to spend about 0.5% to 1% of the amount you have agreed to purchase the property for. Even if you’re not keen to add another closing cost to your sale, it’s a small price to pay for the protection that you get. If you’re in a strong market position, you may be able to get the seller to cover the cost of your title insurance (mortgagee title insurance, however, is always the responsibility of the buyer).
Don’t Forget to Do a Title Search
Another key task in protecting yourself against title defects is to perform a title search before closing on the deal. The title insurance company you plan to use should do this for you, but if they don’t, talk to your real estate agent about other ways to have the title search done. This search will reveal whether there are any hidden title defects that you need to know about, and will ensure you get this information prior to making a considerable investment.
So, Title Insurance: Yay or Nay?
It is almost always going to be a good decision to spring for title insurance, whether you end up needing it or not. Even if a comprehensive title search doesn’t turn up anything suspicious, title insurance ensures that you will have nothing to worry about and that your assets are safe. When in doubt, the more protection you have, the better.
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Buying land can be a very smart investment with long-term benefits if you do your due diligence and market research. Florida has always attracted people looking for sunshine, beaches and a place to retire or bring the kids. Here are some of the benefits of buying land in Florida.
No Income Tax
If you decide to buy Florida land, one of the benefits is you won’t have to pay any income tax. Florida is one of several states that doesn’t collect an individual income tax. If you’re someone just getting your foot into the real estate game, this may be helpful for you to save some extra money after purchasing a property and becoming a Florida resident. Keep in mind, however, that they do charge property tax and sales tax so make sure you understand all of the tax implications before making your move.
Better Chance for Investment Return
If you plan on buying and moving to Florida, it’s usually a good idea because Florida will always be attractive to snowbirds looking for a place to escape the cold. If you invest wisely you should get a good return on your investment in the long term. Just make sure to do your due diligence, find a reputable real estate agent and don’t get talked into buying any swamp land. Just like anywhere else in the country the main rule in real estate is location, location, location.
Have Future Options
If you are not yet ready to make the move to Florida, you could always buy vacant land and develop it at a later date. You’ll have time to think about the things you want to do rather than rush into it and, depending on the local zoning laws, you may be able to visit the property while staying in a recreational vehicle. You always want to check and understand the local zoning laws to make sure you will be able to use and develop the land as you wish.
Additionally, make sure you understand the construction costs and what it will take to build your Florida property.
Whether you’re building something long-lasting or a quick flip, buying property in Florida could be a good move for your future when done properly.
Partnership brings easy access to drone-less digital imaging for rural real estate
For immediate release
(Tucson, Arizona) July 7, 2021: LandHub, an Arizona-based website exclusively specializing in the purchase and sale of land across the United States and select international locations, and Aerial Solutions, a company specializing in drone-less ultra-high resolution aerial imaging and videos, are pleased to announce that they are partnering to bring the best property marketing solutions to land owners across the United States.
“We specialize in high-quality drone-less photos and videos,” explains Michael Feld, CEO of Aerial Solutions. “Most of our clients want to sell property which is difficult to capture images of using traditional techniques. If a property is close to an airport, FAA rules don’t allow drones in the area. If a property is quite large, a drone’s altitude restriction won’t allow for the full perspective of the land to be taken in one all-encompassing image. Often our clients simply don’t want to go through the hassle of scheduling a drone shoot of their property. Whatever the reason may be for not wanting to use drones, our service provides the best solutions. We can capture images without the use of drones and create fully customizable videos in a short amount of time. The images and video can then be added to the property listing very easily. Having those images and videos makes a world of difference when it comes to attracting buyers.”
The partnership between the two companies will form a one-stop-shop for landowners who are looking to buy and sell property and order high quality videos for their listings. LandHub is one of the most popular rural real estate websites and one of the few sites that specializes exclusively in land sales. The use of high-quality aerial images to market real estate will attract even more buyers to the site. The images will also be used to attract buyers on social media thanks to LandHub’s unique marketing service.
“Making property stand out is difficult when you can’t rely on beautiful videos,” explains Kevin May, President of LandHub. “To make listings stand out, a seller needs beautiful videos and photos that communicate the scale of the land, the property boundaries, surrounding land, lakes or rivers and how beautiful the topography is. Having these incredibly detailed videos that Aerial Solutions creates allows the listing to come to life. The videos communicate the potential that the land has far more than any written description. We can say that there’s a stream nearby or that the land is at the foot of a mountain, but to see those things in full color detailed video, along with our system of using social media and our powerful website, is what sells the land.”
For more information about LandHub, please visit www.landhub.com. For additional information about Aerial Solutions please visit www.aerialsolutions.io.
For the latest property listings and real estate news, please follow @landhub on Instagram.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Kevin May, President – LandHub.com
Michael Feld, CEO – Aerial Solutions
(443) 440-6130 ext. 613.
by Laura Mueller
Selling land, like selling a house, is easier when you do it with an experienced real estate agent by your side. Finding that agent, however, can sometimes feel like a guessing game, despite the importance of working with someone who won’t just represent your interests but who will be able to get your property sold as quickly—and for as much money—as possible.
If you’ve been investing in land for a while, then you might have already found someone who you trust to get the job done. But if you’re new to selling land, or if you’re unsatisfied with your current agent, you’ll need to put in the work to find someone who you trust and communicate well with—and who can provide you with a smooth sale from start to finish.
The best way to find an agent to sell your land is usually through referral. Recommendations, especially from people you trust, go a long way toward proving an agent’s competency. Whether you go that route or start your search on Google though, there are always going to be certain things you want to look for when deciding if an agent is a good fit for your listing. Here are five of them.
1. Past Experience – The best residential real estate agent might still struggle to sell your land. That’s because the land market is its own unique sector, with different buyers, processes, and best practices than the residential market. Make sure to work with an agent who has put in the time and has a record of successes to show for it.
2. Marketing Abilities – You want an agent who is going to go above and beyond when it comes to marketing your listing. And the best way to see if that will be the case is to look at their current listings and how they’re marketing those. Are there videos and drone shots? Is the copy thorough and well-written? Are their listings highly visible and showing up in multiple places? If they’re giving that level of service to other sellers, it’s safe to assume you’ll get the same.
3. Time to Sell – The land market can be a tricky thing, so it’s not unreasonable for properties to take some time change hands. Still, it can be helpful to ask for information on a potential agent’s average sale time, as well as their specific strategies for maintaining interest in active listings over time and ensuring that properties get sold sooner rather than later.
4. Reviews – Even if you don’t have a referral from someone you already know and trust, you should still tap into past client reviews to get a taste of what to expect. Look at testimonials, and ask for references too. The more information you can get directly from previous sellers, the better.
5. Specialties and Designations – Is the agent part of any professional land selling associations? Do they specialize in certain types of land, such as agricultural or timber? These details matter when you’re choosing who to work with, and speak volume to both agent competency and the size and scope of their network.
Ultimately, it’s essential not to rush your real estate agent search. Taking your time at the outset could make all of the difference between how fast your land gets sold and for how much, as well as for the overall quality of your experience.
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by Laura Mueller
It’s always important to ask the right questions when you’re buying a piece of real estate, and that’s as true for land as it is for anything else.
More information is always a good thing, especially when it comes to a big investment like a land purchase. And while your agent will be able to guide you through a lot of the ins-and-outs of what you’ll need to know, it never hurts to be as informed as possible regarding the various factors that will help you determine if a property is worth your time (and your money) or not.
With that in mind, here are eleven essential questions to ask when buying land—including some that might not be very obvious.
1. How is the property zoned? You’ll want to be well aware of what you can and can’t do on the property, especially if it’s raw or otherwise undeveloped land.
2. Are there any building restrictions? Similar to above, this tells you whether you’ll be restricted in what you can do on the land, particularly in terms of structural improvements.
3. What are the access rights? Make sure you know whether there’s an existing access road, as well as whether it’s publicly maintained and if anybody else has rights to it.
4. Are there any utilities and/or utility hook-ups? Figure out exactly what’s already available in terms of water, electricity, sewage, and other key utility systems—or if you’ll need to pay to put them in.
5. Are there any planned developments surrounding or near to the property? Find out in advance if there are any nearby updates that will affect your land use, your views, or your privacy.
6. Who are the neighbors? If possible, find out who owns the properties adjoining the piece of land and, most importantly, whether there are any ongoing issues with them over things like boundary lines or access rights.
7. Are there any easements on the land? You’ll want to know sooner rather than later if you’re going to have to share a portion of the land with neighbors, the public, a conservation group, or anyone else.
8. How much are the property taxes? Even vacant land is subject to property taxes. Get an estimate in advance of what the annual taxes are so that you can double check they fit in your budget.
9. Are there any tax exemptions on the land? Speaking of taxes, you should also ask about any possible tax exemptions, such as those for making certain agricultural or energy improvements on the land.
10. Is the seller offering financing? Land mortgages aren’t always as clear-cut as conventional real estate mortgages, and some sellers opt to provide their own financing instead in order to ensure a smoother deal. Ask if that’s the case, or if there are any other sort of seller finance expectations or concessions.
11. Is the title free and clear? A title check will tell you if the seller has the necessary title rights, but you can also ask in advance to save yourself some time later on.
Asking the right questions when you’re buying land isn’t just about convenience. While sellers do have mandatory disclosures that they have to make, knowing what questions to ask gives you more agency to advocate for yourself—and it’s also integral to protecting your rights and your resources as a land buyer.
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