Trust, But Verify: Doing Your Due Diligence On Land

Smith Reservoir south of Blanca, Colorado. Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall on Flickr.

You’ve found a property you like and are leaning towards buying. It meets your buying criteria, and at least on paper, it makes sense. What do you do next? If you’re buying land from us, you could move forward and use our 90 day guarantee if anything is amiss. If you’re like most land investors, you’ll want to at least verify key information first.

Your due diligence process can be as detailed as you like, but here are the key pieces of information you’ll want to verify:

  1. Confirm the seller owns the property by calling the county clerk’s office. Sometimes ownership information may be out of date as the current seller bought the land recently. This is why it’s a good idea to communicate with the county recorder directly rather than relying only on an online search. If the current seller doesn’t own the land but has an option to buy the land from the current owner, ask the seller for a copy of the option contract.
  2. Confirm there are no back taxes on the land by contacting the county treasurer. There shouldn’t be any taxes owed on the land you’re buying, and if there are, you should make sure the seller pays them before buying the land yourself. You can also confirm with the treasurer’s office what the annual property taxes are for the property.
  3. Confirm you can do with the land what you want by contacting the county’s planning office. If you want to put your RV on your land, hunt, dig a well, build a house, etc, you’ll want to confirm with the county that the property you’re buying is zoned or permitted to do so.

Each of our properties here at Ocala Road have all this info listed and more, but you’re more than welcome to verify this information with the relevant county offices. And if you’re buying land with someone else, feel free to use this as a guide to protect yourself while making this important decision.

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