7 Steps to Successfully Purchase Vacant Land

CEO Khai Intela
Investing in real estate? Discover the promising potential of purchasing vacant land as a new opportunity in your portfolio. While it may seem daunting, buying vacant land can be a sound investment if approached with...

Investing in real estate? Discover the promising potential of purchasing vacant land as a new opportunity in your portfolio. While it may seem daunting, buying vacant land can be a sound investment if approached with clear expectations, a comprehensive understanding of the process, and a plan for utilization. In this guide, we will break down the steps involved in buying vacant land to help you navigate the process successfully.

What is Vacant Land?

Vacant land refers to land without any existing structures. It may have been built on in the past but currently stands empty. Buying vacant land involves a different set of considerations compared to traditional home buying. However, it is not as difficult as it may seem. Kevin Miles, a leading specialist and finance analyst, emphasizes that vacant land is not really vacant from an investor's viewpoint. It represents a vision for promising returns in the years to come. Understanding the dynamics of real estate makes investing in vacant land an attractive opportunity.

Step 1: Find a Good Team

When it comes to buying undeveloped land, having a reliable team is crucial. Building connections with architects, contractors, land surveyors, and experienced investors can provide valuable insights and support throughout the process. A trusted team will help analyze deals and provide guidance on the ideal location. Location plays a significant role in adding value to vacant land investments, so seeking advice from professionals and networking within the industry is essential.

Step 2: Identify Your Goals

Before purchasing land, define your purpose for it. Determine whether you plan to build on the land, develop it for residential or commercial use, subdivide and resell it, or explore other possibilities. Your goals will shape your search and guide your decision-making process.

Step 3: Assess Your Finances

Financing vacant land differs from financing properties with structures as collateral. Banks may require a larger down payment and offer a lower loan percentage on the land's value. Traditional financing, private money, and government loans can be options to explore. Familiarize yourself with the available financing options to determine the best fit for your situation.

Step 4: Find Your Ideal Piece of Land

Consider different investment strategies and how they align with your goals. Leasing to farmers, buying and holding, developing properties, or even "flipping" land are all possibilities. Evaluate the market and weigh your options before settling on a particular parcel of land. Assess the area's accessibility, utility services, and suitability for your intended use.

Step 5: Figure Out Permitting

Ensure you understand the permit requirements associated with the land. Building permits, sewer service, water permits, zoning regulations, environmental considerations, and potential special requirements must be thoroughly researched. Give yourself adequate time to gather information and consider the impact of permitting on the profitability of your investment.

Step 6: Hire an Inspector

Undeveloped land requires additional due diligence, including working with an inspector. Environmental and soil testing, surveying, confirmation of utilities, and evaluation of legal aspects, such as liens and zoning restrictions, are essential steps. Seek professional assistance to assess the viability of the land before finalizing the purchase.

Step 7: Make Your Offer

Negotiate with the seller to secure a favorable price and include an option period in your offer, allowing time for due diligence before completing the purchase. If considering seller financing, negotiate the terms of your agreement at this stage.

What Can You Do with Vacant Land?

Vacant land provides numerous opportunities for land use. Consider these ideas:

  1. Produce farm
  2. Wind farm
  3. Solar energy
  4. Vineyard
  5. Golf course
  6. Event rentals
  7. Parking lot
  8. Dairy farm
  9. Livestock farm
  10. Sports field
  11. Concert venue
  12. Outdoor advertising
  13. Horse stables
  14. Storage
  15. Junkyard

Pros and Cons of Buying Vacant Land

Like any investment, there are pros and cons to buying vacant land. Evaluate the following:


  • Ability to customize land use
  • Potential for high returns on investment
  • Outright ownership
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Affordability compared to developed land
  • Easement possibilities


  • Difficulty in financing
  • Delayed returns without rental income
  • Limited tax deductions
  • Permitting challenges
  • Potential zoning obstacles

More Tips for Buying Vacant Land

Consider these tips for a successful land purchase:

  • Work with a local professional well-versed in land deals.
  • Evaluate the neighborhood, roads, and access.
  • Prioritize surveys and environmental tests.
  • Be prepared for financing challenges and explore local lending options.
  • Verify zoning and permitting before making assumptions.
  • Be cautious in sharing development plans with neighbors who may oppose them.
  • Explore areas with specific incentives for real estate development.
  • Establish easements as needed for access to the land.

Costs of Building on Vacant Land

Beyond construction estimates, consider additional expenses such as permits, clearing or grading costs, access road construction, environmental testing, and utility installations. It's crucial to review utility access during the surveying process. Understanding these costs and including them in your budget will ensure a well-calculated investment.

In conclusion, buying vacant land can be a rewarding investment opportunity. By approaching the process with a clear understanding, sound planning, and the right team, you can turn a vacant plot into a valuable asset and achieve your investment goals. Take advantage of the current opportunities in the real estate market and explore the potential of vacant land for your portfolio.