Rural Real Estate Investing For Beginners

Rural Real Estate Investing For Beginners

Rural real estate investing does not have to be complicated even if you are a beginner. Even though I have purchased several pieces of property I thought it might be helpful to share some of my thoughts on this as I was search for some rural real estate to restore a historic pioneer log cabin.  I thought it may be important to share how I began looking for the real estate. I have always wanted to do a project like this so I began my search for the perfect rural location that would fit the context of my project. I did have a strong visualization for the type of land I wanted and began my quest to invest in the best real estate to fit my needs.

Growing up along the Mississippi river, I was always partial to land with some contour, varying elevations or interesting geographic characteristics. After moving to a location in Minnesota with primary farm land, finding interesting real estate was difficult at best. I have actually looked for years before actually making a real estate investment. We happened to be near a small river called the Blue Earth which flows into the Minnesota then into the Mississippi. This is a geographic anomaly among a sea of flat farm land.

I had been looking at local shopper magazines and multiple listing services (MLS) for some time and had even called real estate agents to view properties from time to time without finding that piece of property that fit my vivid imagination. Nevertheless, I continued to look. My wife and I have driven virtually every small or gravel road in our area looking for the diamond in the middle of the prairie. One day I happened to look at real estate on Craig’s List and found a six acre plot very near us for sale by owner. After some communication, a brief negotiation, the deal was done and the land was ours.

Being from a rural area, I have always enjoyed the rural landscape, solitude and a sense of privacy. When looking for real estate for your needs, you need to have a clear visualization of what you want and have clearly defined characteristic criteria. There is always property for sale, but finding just what you want may not be always easy. If you are just looking for a house, there are thousands listed in virtually every area. Searching is relatively easy. In my case I already had a home. I was looking for that rural property for recreation or for potentially building of a quiet get-a-away.

Once you have some clearly defined criteria established, search the MLS listings, local newspapers or shopper magazines in the area in which you wish to invest. You can always do as I did and search Craig’s List. Craig’s List has an excellent method of searching in a very specific geographic area. The other method is just to ask. Don’t be bashful. If you find something you like, find the owner and ask if they would be interested in selling. Everything is for sale for the right price, but don’t expect a strong negotiation position. If you find something listed for sale, there are many things you can do to establish a strong negotiation, but that is a different post.

I would encourage you to not give up, but also be selective. Unless you are homeless and looking for a place to live, it is not a race. Take your time and make sure you get what you are looking for. Real estate is generally a long-term commitment unless you are just doing it for a quick turn-around, then the process would be considerably different. I purchase my home thinking I was only going to stay until I finished school, now I am still there thirty years later.

Rural real estate purchased in 2010

Rural real estate purchased in 2010

As the photographs will show, the property I found was distressed and had some clean-up to do. This played well for me as I could do the work myself and it made it much easier to negotiate with the current owner. It also kept away some competition for the property as many people just don’t want to do any hard labor. I will discuss more of the attributes of this in a later article.

Old buildings in a state of disrepair.

Old buildings in a state of disrepair.

As for the money aspect of your real estate investment, you want to always be sure that you can afford your potential purchase given your long-term vision. For instance, if you want to build you will have a substantial additional payment for construction costs. Take into consideration all aspects of your expenses before jumping into a purchase that my put you over your head. It is important to check county records to see what the existing yearly tax liability is and to see if there are any pass due taxes or local leans or assessments on the property. Most assessments would be for local road work, school referendums or sometimes other public projects that get added to the cost of real estate investment.

The main idea is to not settle for less than what fits your needs. Do your homework and understand all the numbers. Having all the real estate data in front of you may make the difference in successful rural real estate investmenting or a real estate debacle. If you make good informed decisions you will make a good investment. Good luck on your quest and don’t settle for less.