Tip #1: Determine Your Goals
Before buying vacant land in Philadelphia, PA, ask yourself: what is my goal with the land? Once you determine your goals with the property, that will guide you to buy the perfect piece of land in Philadelphia. Will you be reselling the land after the purchase? Are you looking to build on this land? If so, what are you going to build? Are you looking for commercial or residential land? These answers will guide you in finding your ideal purchase.
Tip #2: Determine Your Method
The next tip for buying the perfect piece of land in Philadelphia is to determine your method of finding the vacant land. There are a handful of ways to find vacant land to buy. First of all, you can call us at (215) 422-3288 and we can help you find what you are looking for in Philadelphia. You can work with a Realtor who has access to the multiple listing service, or MLS. You can also find properties for sale by owner on public posting boards online. There are also public auctions held by cities and counties in PA that frequently offer vacant land for sale, mostly due to unpaid taxes. Working with a real estate professional might be ideal if you are new to buying vacant land, they know the tips and tricks of the trade.
Tip #3: Research the History
The third tip for buying the perfect piece of land in Philadelphia is to research the history, specifically the chain of title and tax payment history. Real estate professionals have easy access to most sources of information for research on vacant land. It does not hurt to do your own research, just to double check.
Search the county records for the deed and ownership history. There should be a nice, clean chain of owners from one to the next. If not, there will have to be legal paperwork done that takes time and costs extra money. Make sure to look up the property taxes, if there are any open certificates and you purchase the property, the owner might be able to take the property back from you before the waiting period is over, typically 4 years.
Tip #4: Research the Characteristics
The fourth tip for buying the perfect piece of land in Philadelphia is to research the characteristics of the land. Look into the current and future zoning of the vacant land, will the municipality’s plans interfere with your own? Will you be able to request an exception? Are there any deed or usage restrictions or building requirements?
Review the physical characteristics of the property, will it be large enough for your plans? Is there an excessive amount of clearing that needs to be done? Is it on a canal? Does it have direct access to tap into the utility system? Are there plans for utility expansion? Check into the plat maps and any surveys available to make sure there are not any surprise easements you are unaware of.
Tip #5: Negotiate the Price
The fifth tip for buying the perfect piece of land in Philadelphia is to negotiate the perfect price. You must take into consideration comparable properties in the area. Take note of any significant differences in the property you are researching, also called the subject property and the comparable properties. If the selling agent is quoting a comp that is on a canal and the subject property is not, then that is not a realistic comparable property. Other property characteristics to consider are utility status, canal or other water frontage, distance from canals or water features, distance to the nearest shopping plaza, and the surrounding neighborhood. A piece of land in a neighborhood of nice houses will sell for more than land in a not so great neighborhood.