Country Property Dirt Cheap

Learning the Lay of the Land is Complicated.

I was having lunch at Greenhouse Grille yesterday (yum!) while meticulously taking notes from a book I’ve been reading called Country Property: Dirt Cheap by Ralph C. Turner.  This book follows the story of a man attempting to buy a very small acreage for the cheapest possible price, a feat worth studying since we’ve noticed the trend of large acreages selling for a cheaper price-per-acre and small acreages selling for, like, $5,000 or more.  Too much for us.

So I was scribbling definitions into my notebook and puzzling over the chapter on Real Estate Brokers (what’s a broker? I wondered, remembering the saying “going broke”) when one walked right into Greenhouse Grille!  I would never have known the person was a broker except that their friend introduced them with their title.  In such a circumstance, I decided to pluck up the courage and seize the opportunity.

A good read about buying land, by Ralph C. Turner

I wandered up to the bar, politely said “Excuse me,” and then asked quietly, “What’s a Broker?”

From our conversation (they were very helpful!) I learned that a broker is like a real estate agent and the terms are often used interchangeably.  A broker is this person who got more licenses and so decided to start this office full of real estate agents who work under them, finding and selling properties.  A broker works for the buyer but gets paid by the seller through commission, although both Ralph C. Turner (the author) and Ryan said that the buyer is actually paying those fees in a higher sale price.

This particular serendipity-moment broker had done some conservation and soil revitalization work, which was really cool, even though I don’t understand exactly what that means in terms of real estate (how can real estate agents do conservation work?).

Other definitions and land-buying tips I’ve gleaned from Country Property: Dirt Cheap include:

Strategies for Finding Cheap Rural Land

  • put “wanted to buy” ad in newspaper
  • search the classifieds in several area news and weekly shoppers
  • visit the assessor’s office to find land on aerial maps and verify who the owner is
  • make a list of your ideal property’s characteristics
  • make a circle on a regional map of the area you’re looking to live in (narrow search)
  • visit local brokers to compare listings
  • get a topographical map to show unpaved roads, terrain, etc to explore the area
  • drive around rural areas talking to everyone you see
  • make a flyer about what you’re looking to buy
  • attend rural auctions and gatherings of farmers (such as church)

I’ll have to save my list of definitions of useful land-buying terms for a future post, since they’re still a bit confusing to me! Do you have any tips about how to buy land, or know of land for sale in Northwest Arkansas?

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Thanks for sharing this book! Although we have some “country property” I think we’re looking to acquire more – and there’s a good bit for sale just south of Fayetteville! One big thing I’ve noticed is sellers still want to give the impression that the Northwest Arkansas area is still in an economic boom, when, in fact – it’s in a bust at the moment. That said, we’ve seen some really neat places and sellers who were very willing to be flexible on owner financing and/or total price – there are some great deals to be had – As a… Read more »

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