If you’re thinking about purchasing land in New York, now might just be the best time to do so. Allen Olmsted, a Syracuse-based Realtor with 30+ years experience in buying and selling land, says that market trends are looking especially good at the moment. As thousands of his clients have found success over the years, Allen and his team at Canaan Realty have seen firsthand just how smart an investment in land can be.
Buying Land Is an Excellent Investment Opportunity
According to Olmsted – who has sold over 100,000 acres of land across the state – most buyers love the simplicity of land investment. It’s stable, long-term and hands-off. Especially when compared to the stock market, owning land is far less stressful. It doesn’t wear out or depreciate with time. And most importantly, even though it’s a finite resource, there’s a lot of land available in New York right now.
Currently, Canaan Realty has more than 100 listings on their website, spanning from just outside New York City all the way to Buffalo. “In my opinion,” Olmsted says, “land is always a great investment. If purchased correctly at a fair market price, land will retain or even increase its value even if it’s never developed.”
In order to get the most value for your investment, however, it's important to choose land with discernment. It’s all about understanding what the land has to offer and how other factors might influence its value. With that said, even if you don’t have any prior investment knowledge, you can still find success with buying land as long as you have the right guidance.
The Buying and Selling Process Is Easier than You Think
By nature, the land real estate market is fairly complicated. Not to mention, less familiar than buying and selling houses. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Olmsted says all you have to do is make a few decisions about what you want, and the Realtor can take care of the rest.
One of the first things to decide is which type of land you want to purchase. There are four main types:
Next, you have to think about what you want to do with the land. Do you want to build today, or perhaps in the future? Will you use it for camping or hunting? Then it's time to identify your top three priorities. Some examples of common features include location, size, views, school district, slope and waterfront access. At this point, you're ready to weigh your top priorities against your budget.
Olmsted, who’s deeply passionate about land and has regularly navigated complex land sales, says that there may be additional factors to consider. For agricultural properties, you’ll want to know how much open ground is available and how much is tillable, as well as the soil composition. Additionally he says that hops, hemp and marijuana are some other emerging markets for land and present particular considerations as well.
For commercial properties, he suggests looking to see if there are any incentives, like tax breaks, to take advantage of. In addition, Olmsted says he likes to help buyers assess traffic conditions as well as navigate through different approval processes that may be required in regards to state permits or municipality approval.
If you’re looking at a residential property, it’s important to find out what utilities are already in place. For those that are missing, figuring out how to get them there is key. And finally, for waterfront properties, Olmsted encourages his customers to think about how floodplains and zoning might affect the land.
“Something new that’s been coming up more and more recently is solar,” he adds. “I’ve helped a lot of land owners navigate that process, too, issues like obtaining interconnectivity agreements from the local utility to conducting environmental studies of the land.”
Lenders Are Expanding Their Land Financing Options
In the past, buyers struggled to get financing for land. In many cases, banks simply weren't familiar with land sales and were hesitant to lend. “Back when I first started,” Olmsted recalls, “there were very few lenders who would finance land. But that’s really changed in the last 10 to 15 years.”
Right now, it’s a lot easier to find lenders who are willing to finance larger properties at the right value, all in one piece. For example, buyers can finance a house on a 50-acre plot in a single package rather than splitting them up.
So far, Canaan Realty has had the best luck with privately held institutions, like credit unions and savings banks. They often recommend Syracuse Securities, Community Bank Farm Credit East, among others, to their buyers looking for financing help.
Learn More about Land Today
As Olmsted and his team at Canaan Realty demonstrate, the buying and selling process can go much faster and smoother if you have someone with the right industry knowledge, an intimate familiarity with the area and an understanding of the language to explain everything and walk you through the process.
If you’re interested in buying land in New York, browse the current listings available at nyland.forsale. And if you have any questions about investing, financing, marketing or selling, you’re welcome to contact Olmsted by calling 888-457-6261. As one of the leading land experts in the state, he’s happy to lend a hand wherever he can.