Three Questions For Buying Land

Welcome to the John Hall and Company How to Buy Land in Alabama Series.  This is part two in the series written by Hoke Smith. He helps us understand 3 important questions for buying land in Alabama. Click here to read Why Hire A Buyer’s Specialist part one written by Pete Hall.

In this article, Hoke gives insights into buying land in Alabama from his years of experience living on the land, his education from Auburn University, and his time helping people buy that right piece of land in Alabama.

Have Questions about Buying Land?

Purchasing land does not have to be an intimidating or a foreign concept. We are here to help and answer your questions. First, download our checklist of steps for first-time buyers on How to Buy Land in Alabama. A checklist assists you in making informed and educated decisions. These decisions can mean the difference between you owning the property you always dreamed of or you not being satisfied with your purchase.

Alabama Land Buying Questions

The three main questions a buyer must answer when their search for the property begins:

1. What is your budget?

2. How will the property be used?

3. Where is the preferred location?

Answering these three questions keeps your search focused on properties right for you.

Establish a Budget

Take the time at the beginning of the process to research and establish a budget. Meet with financial advisors or explore options with financing. In Alabama, there are several “land banks” that specialize in financing for rural properties. They can also provide valuable insights on how to establish a budget in your search for land. Once a budget is established then you are really able to kick off your search.

Identify Land Attributes

When speaking with first-time land buyers, I ask the question “What is your vision or why do you want a piece of rural land?”

There are specific reasons people begin to look for rural land. Keying in on what your hobbies are and what you envision yourself using the property for is a good place to start. Once you have the big picture then key in on the attributes of the property.

List out the attributes a property needs to have, such as; a creek, pond, cabin, pasture, timber, wildlife food plots, topography, and any other attributes. Take the list of attributes and identify which of those are absolute necessities to make up your ideal property. The geological landscape in Alabama changes dramatically throughout the state. For example, if you’re looking for the property to consist of a cold-water creek with rocky outcroppings then the coastal plains of South Alabama may not be the best place to focus your search.

Hone in on Location

Location is the most important of the three questions. Buyers should to be flexible when establishing a preferred location. There are areas within the states that are micro-markets where land values can be significantly higher. You may have to travel a little bit further to find a better bang for your buck!

Figure out where your ideal property would be located and then search outward from there. Preferred property attributes and location may need to be adjusted depending on which is more important to you.

We are here to  answer all your questions on buying Land in Alabama

The internet is a great tool and can provide valuable information. However, I highly suggest a real estate broker who specializes in the land to represent and assist you in searching, viewing and purchasing a property. A land real estate agent will provide invaluable insight for first-time buyers and help avoid mistakes when purchasing a property before it is too late.

An active land agent can help you buy land in Alabama.
Agents . . . 

  • understand what you may not be familiar with
  • keep up to date on the market values of the property
  • are thoroughly and knowledgeable to show you properties
  • identify potential problems
  • ask important questions to the sellers that may otherwise not be understood or revealed
  • assist in negotiations
  • assure that you are getting a fair deal

All in all, buying land in Alabama and purchasing a piece of rural land can be a much simpler process than purchasing a home. It doesn’t consist of all the inspections and reports needed to close on a home. Once you have developed a budget, identified property attributes, and have identified a general location, then the search process becomes much easier and enjoyable.

Having a land agent on your side to assist you through the process results in a land buying process that is enjoyable and stress-free. Before you know it, that Alabama dream property will be yours!

-Hoke Smith

Download John Hall and Company’s checklist for buying property HERE. These are the questions that every buyer needs to be asking before they make a purchase.

We invite you to reveiw other articles in the John Hall and Company Selling Land Series

Why Hire a Buyer’s Specialist

3 Important Questions for Buying Land

First Steps to Prepare to Buy Land

First Steps to Prepare to Buy Land

This is the third part of the series on Buying Land in Alabama. John Hall outlines how to prepare to buy land in Alabama. Mr. Hall’s advice comes from 35 years of helping buyers find their perfect Alabama property.

First Step to Buy Land In Alabama

My wife grew up on a farm in Huntsville, Alabama, and I grew up on a farm in Cecil, Alabama. My dad also owned the local corner store. He instilled in me a love for the land, business, family, and faith. My wife and I have passed on that legacy to our boys and grandchildren.

Today it is a blessing for me to have a business that helps individuals and families find their perfect piece of land in Alabama. I have been helping people for over 30 years invest in our state. There
are a few things I have learned in my time about land and selling land, especially when it comes to getting the recreation land that you have dreamed of for your family.

Think about your perfect property for you and your family and friends. Now, make a list of all the amenities that you want if you could find the perfect property.

What are your family’s land needs?

Imagine your family’s needs for the next 15 years. What type of property will fill those needs for them to grow into adulthood? 

  • What values and hobbies do you want to instill in your children?
  • How much time and sweat equity do you have to invest in the land?

In my book, there is nothing better in this world than teaching children how to live on the land through horticulture, learning about the environment, and stewarding the land well.

What do you envision on the Alabama land that you want to buy?

    • cabin
    • fishing lake
    • barn
    • established wildlife plots
    • hunting
    • bird trail
    • garden
    • home
    • animals

Land Buying Costs

Keep in mind a preferred “turnkey” family hunting/fishing property costs much more than “raw” land. Do you have the skills, resources, time, or expertise to build out your own amenities? Some buyers have the desire and expertise to construct amenities which takes time but saves a lot of money. We have a list of trusted partners to assist our clients within budget and build the land they desire because we want our clients to have the resources to build their dream recreational land.

Connect with an Agent

Once you have a vision and have identified your desires for the property, this is a good time to reach out to a John Hall and Company agent. I do encourage buyers to enlist the services of an experienced real estate land agent.

The term is a Buyer’s Agent and it costs you nothing!

Review the John Hall and Company agent page and pick out an agent that best fits your needs. Review their “bio” on their website to see which agent with whom you feel compatible. Pick one and call him to discuss your property requirements.

Your agent will pull up properties that they know best match your criteria and desires.  Your agent will diligently research the properties and set up tours to help you assess the properties. When you are ready to buy, your agent will prepare the sale contract and assist you with the details to a successful closing.  

Please give John Hall and Company a call at 334.270.8400 and speak with one of our experienced sales agents to discuss your perfect property.

Happy Hunting!

 -John E. Hall, Jr. CCIM

Download John Hall and Company’s checklist for buying property HERE. These are the questions that every buyer needs to be asking before they make a purchase.


We invite you to reveiw other articles in the John Hall and Company Selling Land Series

Why Hire a Buyer’s Specialist

3 Important Questions for Buying Land

First Steps to Prepare to Buy Land


How aesthetic appeal can improve your land values

There are many ways in which a landowner can get an idea of how much their property is worth. John Hall & Company along with other land brokers can give a landowner their opinion of value simply based on recent comparable sales in the area. There is also the route of hiring an appraisal company to provide you with the value of your property. The total value for a property can be broken down into sub-categories to come up with the total value. Many recreational and timber properties can be broken down to the “bare land” value, timber value, and value of amenities. In this article, I want to share my thoughts on the aesthetic appeal of a property and how it can affect the “bare land” value of your property.

The aesthetic appeal to a property can be the difference in the land selling at $900 an acre for the “bare land” or $1,300 per acre for the “bare land. It is nothing more than the aesthetic appeal but adds value to your property. The location of a property has a lot to do with the “bare land” value of a property but if the property is not maintained or provided some TLC you will not see the same return in value. The aesthetic appeal of land can consist of something as simple as mowing and trimming limbs along a road system. Think of it as vacuuming your home and mowing the yard. If you were trying to sell your house and you had not vacuumed your home or cut the grass in over a year, do you think the potential buyers who come to view the house would even make an offer or if they did do you think they would be willing to pay a premium price? A few other aesthetically pleasing but small costs that can improve the value of your bare land can be planting fruit trees or other mast-producing trees around food plots, having a gated entrance to the property, adding culverts to creek crossings, or adding rock to creek crossings to give it a hard bottom. To compare to residential real estate think of this as decorations and furniture to make the home look better.

When buyers are viewing properties, and see that a property needs a lot of upfront work they most of the time discount the price they are willing to pay. This is to adjust for the upfront costs they will need to apply to the property when purchased. The value of the “bare land” in negotiations, although many times not specifically stated, is typically the value that will fluctuate the most. Buyers are willing to pay more for a property that is maintained and accessible over properties that are not. Recreational buyers tend to be willing to pay more for the property than timber companies or individuals strictly interested in the timber. Therefore, in order to obtain the best value for your property, it may be beneficial to manage your property catered towards recreation. However, this does not mean the timber value is not important because it can be a large portion of the total value of the property.

A maintained property is an aesthetically pleasing property. It is in the best interest of the landowner to keep that in mind if they are looking to obtain the best value possible in a sale. Sometimes landowners do not live nearby, have the time, or have the ability to maintain their property, and in that instance, we suggest leasing the hunting rights out. A hunting lease can be structured so that your roads will be maintained, food plots will be planted, and the property will be accessible.

John Hall & Company would be pleased to assist you with your land needs and would be happy to provide our opinion of value. John Hall & Company has been in the business of selling land since 1987 and we would be love to talk land with you!

Hoke Smith IV