Buying land

Preparation is paramount when buying land

Whether you want to buy land as an investment to spread risk within a portfolio or are looking for a home and lifestyle in the countryside, opportunities are limited and the issues can be complex, affecting value and your enjoyment of the property.

Here are some tips for smoothing the path to a successful purchase:

  • Be clear on your reasons for buying. Split your ‘must-haves’ from features that are ‘nice to have’ and write a list of your top 10. 

  • Get your finances and advisory team organised before you start your search. The latter may be very different from your usual advisors as it’s crucial they have a detailed understanding of agriculture when you're buying land. You may need to exchange contracts in a short time frame – particularly in a competitive situation – so preparation is key.

  • The right property advisor will have knowledge of farms and estates that are available privately or will be able to make direct approaches to current owners if appropriate.

  • If you aren’t personally acquainted with your area of search, spend time getting to know it to see if it really does meet your criteria. Investigate local amenities, travel times and land types. Remember: price is greatly affected by location.

  • Consider a selection of properties to help narrow your choices and focus your mind on what you are looking for. Is it an investment or a lifestyle? Is income potential important?

  • Once you’ve found the right property, ensure as much due diligence is done as possible before you negotiate terms and the price. This gives the seller and their advisors confidence and avoids unnecessary renegotiation or withdrawal later if all is not quite what you had originally thought.

  • Analyse matters that might affect the property’s value, income and your enjoyment, whether they be third party rights and occupancies, planning issues, employees, sporting or farm infrastructure. There is also a minefield of compliance and health and safety issues to be aware of. Make sure your advisors know what’s important to you and what’s not.

  • I involve our food and farming specialists at an early stage to budget likely returns and arrange farming agreements and ongoing management.

  • Finally, few people get their full wish list so be flexible on your requirements without compromising on really key points. This is likely to be your biggest financial purchase and you should be looking at it as a long-term investment

Further information

Contact Savills Rural Services

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