Archives For Buying Land in Alabama

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

This land is sold.

My wife and I recently became landowners. After several years of searching for the ideal piece of property, we found sixteen acres in Ashville, Alabama. It was the perfect balance of features,  location, price and potential. Getting to this point was not an easy road. We began as complete amateurs with no clear vision of what we wanted, and no idea of what our needs really were. The process was quite an education.

As we begin the next phase of our lives shaping our little patch of heaven into something useful, I thought it might be helpful to share some of what we learned along the way. We are not farmers or real estate developers. We’re not hippies or eco-warriors.  We’re just a family of four in Alabama who was bitten by the bug to own land and build something meaningful and lasting. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

The kids petting Joel Salatin's cat at Polyface Farm

Where to Begin

Once I had read all the books and articles I could find on buying land, I started my quest in earnest. We had to first decide what geographical area would be suitable for us. Our needs were pretty simple. We had grown up on the northeast side of Birmingham, and we wanted to stay on that end of the world. Due to the recent colossal bankruptcy making national headlines, I knew that no matter what we did, we needed to get out of Jefferson County as quickly as possible. I also needed to find property that was close enough to commute to our office on the southeast side of town. Ultimately, we wanted to stay as close as possible to our friends and family, but my wife and I were also personally motivated by different aspects of the project.

Leigh was looking to give our children the experience of growing up “outside”. With lots of woods and bugs and animals, our kids would benefit from a little nature in their nurture. Wide-open spaces and a little hard work would round out their developing characters nicely. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the last installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, I talked about several methods to create a pool of properties to consider. In this article we’ll explore the question that will determine your next step.

Is the property worth visiting?

In order to determine if a property is worth seeing, we need to know what our benchmarks for good land are. First, there are a number of criteria that should be considered for any rural property in Alabama:

Acreage – How much land do you need? Until you’ve walked some land, this one will be hard to nail down. When we started out, I thought I wanted 40 acres. The first time I walked a 20 acre plot, I realized just how big 40 acres is. Maintaining a large property requires a lot of time and hard work. With a little planning and the right piece of land, you can raise all the food your family eats on 3-5 acres.  It didn’t take long before I decided that 10-15 acres might be a better fit for our needs.

Anticipated Use –  What will you do on the land? You want to keep your options open with this one, however there are probably some things you can take off of the list with a little thought. While I was interested in some types of livestock, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to graze cattle or horses.  At the most I wanted a half-acre for a garden, 3-5 acres to cultivate into a food forest orchard, 2-4 acres to develop into paddocks for small numbers of  chickens, goats or pigs, and I really wanted a 1-2 acre pond if possible. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the last installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, I talked about a number of factors to consider when determining if a property is even worth visiting. In this article I want to cover my five favorite free online tools you can use when evaluating those factors.

Tools to Help You in Your Quest

These are the online tools that I have found to be absolutely essential to evaluating property both prior to a visit and during the due diligence phase. It is amazing to me how much information can be amassed in a few minutes with these tools. I often found myself teaching the listing brokers about their property during my initial inquiries as a result of these tools. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the last installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, I presented my five favorite online tools for researching property. In this article we finally get down to the nitty gritty. You’ve searched through the listings. You’ve found a promising parcel with the right blend of features and cost. You’ve done your homework, and now it’s time to see the land. What do you need to know to ensure that the first visit is productive and enjoyable?

Walking the PropertyWhat to Bring

On our first excursions to look at property we were complete amateurs. We’d pile into the van, armed only with a notebook, and drive out to the country. We were ravaged by insects, shredded by briars, starved and dehydrated on those early adventures. What’s worse is that we were so inefficient in the process that we exhausted ourselves tromping around and rarely came home with all the information we needed. If only there was a list of things to bring on those expeditions… we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress and spent our time productively enjoying our walk through the woods…

Continue Reading…

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Buying Land in Alabama

In the previous installment of Buying Rural Property in Alabama, we covered 12 things you need to bring with you on your first visit to the property. In this article we’re going to make sure you make the most of your trip by laying out what you need to do while you’re there.

Walking a trail on the property

There are some aspects of walking a piece of property that will be self-evident, but to the uninitiated there’s a lot you can miss. If you’re serious about a property, you’ll likely visit it a dozen times or more before deciding to buy it, but you never know which property is going to be the one. For the sake of your sanity, you’ll want to make the most of each visit. There’s nothing like sitting down to review notes from the trip and realizing you have to return to pick up on some obvious, missed detail. Continue Reading…