A Guide to Buying Homestead Land

This guide to buying homestead land provides advice on the do's and don'ts of purchasing land, including property access rights, water/sewer drainage, mineral/timber rights, utility availability and buying mountain property.

| November/December 1982

Robin Smith shares this guide to buying homestead land and the do's and don'ts of purchasing property. 

Imagine, as you eagerly scan the classified real estate listings, suddenly spotting an ad that reads like the answer to your dream: "Forty acres, year-round creek, part wooded, part cleared, some marketable timber, south-facing slopes, $26,000, low down, low monthly payments." In such a case, it'd be quite natural to assume you'd found the buy of the decade.

So let's say you decide to take a look at the place profiled in that advertisement . . . and it turns out to be even better than you'd dreamed. Huge trees tower overhead, like a great green cathedral. You follow the creek downstream to find that it opens into a gorgeous meadow. Your heart is taken, and you're already starting to plan where you'll put the house and barn. This is the place, your emotions are shouting, and—better yet—the price is right!

At this point, the owner or agent—seeing that you're sold on the parcel (after all, you've been too clanged excited to play "uninterested buyer" games)—asks you for either earnest money or a down payment. Well, you know the property is what you want, and you also figure that someone else is sure to buy it if you don't . . . so you prepare to shell out a big portion of your savings.

But wait . . . remember that any time you make a purchase—particularly as significant an acquisition as a piece of property—it's vital to keep in mind the motto, "Let the buyer beware." Before you put up cash that you may not be able to recover later, let's use this guide to buying homestead land and examine the pitfalls possible in buying any piece of real estate, especially undeveloped land.


It's impossible to overemphasize how terribly important access rights are. Be certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that permanent, legal, transferable access is specified in the deed. Never buy any piece of property without it.

2/3/2018 11:59:02 AM

Thanks for the worthwhile education on this matter.

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