1. Why Should I Buy Land?

Land has been a historically safe, low risk investment! Converting your cash to real estate can be an excellent way to safeguard its value. Undeveloped land values generally do not have the catastrophic volatility of the stock market. Land is a secure physical investment of capital and is the ultimate tangible asset. Also land cannot be lost to fire or stolen.

Land is in limited supply and demand continues to grow! Between 1950 and 2010 U.S. population more than doubled. Between 1960 and 1999 world population more than doubled. The historic upward real estate trend is on your side! “Land Banking”, the purchase of real estate with the intent of selling it later at a profit, has been the creation of innumerable fortunes for the wealthiest people throughout history. Over time land has always increased in value. This increase in value occurs as the inevitable result of population growth.

Unlike developed real estate, with vacant land you are getting in on the ground floor with very little risk and maximum profit potential. Maintenance is virtually nonexistent, generally consisting of just property taxes (typically minuscule compared to developed land) and owners’ association fees if any. There are no insurance nightmares, destructive tenants, or deteriorating buildings which lose their value with each passing day.

You can enjoy your land! Consider buying some property so that you can RV, camp, hunt, fish, hike, or just kick back and enjoy being away from urban hustle and bustle.

You can take the first step toward building your dream home! Many people hope to retire away from the pollution, noise, and crime of urban living. You might want to buy some build-able property now to take the first step toward realizing the glorious retirement that you deserve. Have a look at the increasing price of real estate over the years. Now is definitely the time to buy that land that you have been dreaming of – – before prices climb inevitably higher and you wish that you had bought “back when it was still affordable”.

2. Can I Get Good Financing?

We offer affordable financing for the properties that we sell. Everyone qualifies, and we do not run a credit check! The terms of the financing can be found in the listing for each individual property. We offer 0% financing for one year installment purchases. For any length of contract over one year, we offer financing at the low rate of 9%.

3. What Are Automated Recurring Payments?

If you are financing a purchase with us we can set up automatic monthly ACH payments from your bank account for you, or set up automatic monthly payments using your credit card.  This is a great convenience, you no longer have to remember to make your monthly payments. No stamps, no envelopes, no late fees due to losing track of the calendar! It is also extremely secure. If you decide to use automated monthly payments you can always elect later to discontinue them and go back to manual payments. If you begin by making your monthly payments manually and find this to be tedious, you can always switch to automated monthly payments.

4. What Kinds Of Payments Are Accepted?

We accept all major credit cards (except American Express), ACH debit transfers from a bank checking or savings account, money orders & checks. You can purchase your property entirely or make a down payment through the website by credit card. If you choose any other form of payment, please contact us by email or telephone so that we can make arrangements with you.

5. Are There Liens On These Properties?

No, there will never be a lien, encumbrance, judgment, or tax delinquency on any property that we sell.

6. Who Owns These Properties?

We own all of the properties that we sell. We are not acting as middlemen for anonymous owners.

7. How Do I Make My Monthly Payment?

If you have not set up automated monthly payments with us, you can make payments using our website’s secure payments page, or telephone us to make a credit card payment, or mail us a check or money order.

8. Can I Build On The Land?

Yes, you can build on your land as long as you follow the laws, ordinances, and zoning that may apply. If you are purchasing the property from us with installment payments, please keep in mind that you will not actually own the property until we receive the final payment and record a new deed for you.

There is no requirement to build. You may enjoy your land as is, or build when it suits you.

9. Do You Sell Worldwide?

Yes, we have numerous satisfied international customers.

10. What About Mineral Rights?

The property we acquire usually does not come with mineral rights. This is typical in the southwestern United States.  Your property will not come with mineral rights.

11. What About Property Taxes And Association Fees?

When you purchase a property outright from us the taxes, and owners’ association fees if any, will be paid current by us to that point. Thereafter they are your responsibility. If you finance the purchase with us, we will pay the taxes and fees during the course of the loan and bill you for reimbursement.

12. Are There Prepayment Penalties?

No. If you choose to pay more than your minimum installment payment, assuming that your account is current the excess is applied to the loan principal.

13. What Happens After I Pay For The Property?

Within a few business days of receiving the final payment for a property we prepare a deed to transfer ownership of the property to you. We send this deed to be legally recorded in the county where the property is located, then mail the recorded deed to you after the county returns it.

14. What Are The Closing Costs?

There is only a $195 documentation prep and recording fee to be paid by the buyer.

15. What About Utilities?

There will be information concerning utilities in the sales listings.

16. How Do I Get To The Property?

In addition to whatever information may be in the sales listing, as part of the sales package we send you will be whatever mapping we have for the property.

17. What Are The Differences Between Types Of Deeds?

The four most common types of deeds that you are likely to encounter are General Warranty Deeds; Special Warranty Deeds; Bargain And Sale Deeds; and Quitclaim Deeds. The precise definition of each type of deed varies by state.

• General Warranty Deed guarantees that the title is free and clear, and that the seller has the right to sell it to you. It guarantees that there are no title defects and if there are any encumbrances against the property they must be listed in the deed. The seller guarantees and will defend the title against all persons. A General Warranty Deed is the highest type of deed providing the buyer with the maximum amount of legal protection.

Special Warranty Deed provides fewer warranties and less protection to the buyer than a General Warranty Deed. There is no guarantee against title defects or encumbrances that may have been present when the seller acquired the property. It only guarantees against encumbrances that may have occurred during the seller’s time of ownership.

• Bargain And Sale Deed implies that the seller has the right to convey the title but does not guarantee that the title is free of defects and does not guarantee that the title is free from encumbrances.

Quitclaim Deed has no warranties at all and only conveys whatever interest the seller may have had in the property. The seller’s name may or may not have appeared on the title.

18. How Is Property Location Described?

There are several types of legal descriptions for property locations currently used in various parts of the United States, including the following:

Metes And Bounds – – This is the original method of describing the location of land in the United States, a very old system that was carried over from England. Usually physical features of local geography, with compass directions and distances, are used to describe the perimeter of a parcel of land.

Public Land Survey System – – A more scientific system than Metes And Bounds, the PLSS was implemented as an attempt to provide consistent and objective descriptions of land parcels, based on U.S. government surveys. A grid system was established, defined by specific surveyed points, which can be scaled down as needed in order to provide accurate descriptions of parcel locations.

Lot And Block Survey System – – also known as the Recorded Plat Survey System. This system is typically found where a large parcel of land has been subdivided. A map, commonly called a plat, is drawn showing the parcel and all of its component parts, and this plat is legally recorded and provides the legal descriptions of all properties within the parcel. The entire parcel is typically divided into Units, which are then divided into Blocks, which are then divided into Lots. Some parcels are not large enough to require division into Units, and there are some minor name differences in use.

19. Terms And Conditions

We guarantee that there are no liens, judgments, or encumbrances against the property, and that the property taxes are not delinquent. The buyer’s remedy to this is limited to cancellation of the sale, with monies refunded. This guarantee is not transferable.

All properties are sold “as is” and “where is”. All property information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge and provided in good faith. The seller does not guarantee its accuracy.  We do not guarantee and we assume no liability for utilities or their lack; location; accessibility; terrain; buildability; or for building and zoning codes and ordinances.  Generally mineral rights have been reserved by a state, railroad, subdivider, or some other entity.  Mineral rights will not come with the property.  This does not affect buildability and the land can be used for purposes determined by county regulations.

For many of the land listings on YourCheapLand.com, we use GPS coordinates.  This GPS information is estimated and is for the purpose of locating your property only.  Prior to building a fence or any structures on your land, buyers should contact a state licensed surveyor to have a property survey done and mark the exact corners of the property.

It is solely the buyer’s responsibility to ensure that the property is appropriate for their intended use.  The buyer is urged to examine and research all properties prior to committing to purchase.  Buyer will form their own judgment of property value and not rely on a third party or the seller. Failure of the buyer to investigate and inspect the property, failure to conduct their own due diligence, will not be grounds for modification or cancellation of the sale.

No business or commercial activity of any kind is allowed involving a property under loan contract.  Any plans you might have of a commercial nature must wait until the property is paid for in full and ownership has been transferred to you.

For properties in Gunsight Ranch and The Ranch in Hudspeth County, Texas, hunting rights cannot be rented, leased, or sold.  The property owner (or contract holder) must be present when they are used.  While a property is under contract, after the minimum amount has been paid toward the loan principal, hunting rights will be issued annually on request.  These hunting rights are printed on special paper with a raised seal and must be carried by the contract holder while hunting.  When property ownership is transferred by deed, the new deed is proof of land ownership and possession of hunting rights.   

We encourage all of our buyers to complete their own due diligence.  We do our best to obtain information on each property, but it is always best that you educate yourself as much as possible before purchasing.  This can include a site visit, verification of our ownership through the county records, verification of taxes being paid current, etc. Our family name, Stephens, will show in the county ownership record of each property.

Payment for purchase or down payment, subject to the seller’s acceptance of the payment, is a binding and final agreement to purchase.

There is no pressure to buy, and every opportunity to inform yourself about the property being

purchased.  Thus, under these circumstances, we do not issue refunds.  We do offer a Satisfaction Guarantee while the property is under Loan Contract, in which you can move your accumulated equity to another available property of equal of greater value if you are not satisfied with your purchased property. A $195 document fee will be charged to do the property exchange. Once a property is deeded to you, it is a done deal and you will be the owner so at that time we cannot exchange or take back the property.    

Except where prohibited by law, all transactions and dealings will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Must be 18 years of age or older.  

20. How Do I Research Land?

Personally visiting and examining the land that you want to purchase is, of course, highly desirable. You should do so if it is practical. However, if there is a great distance involved, you can take advantage of online satellite mapping software, such as Google Earth, to see satellite photos of the property that you’re considering as well as the surrounding area.

You can easily obtain a lot of useful information if you know who to ask.  Calling a property owners’ association, if there is one, can be extremely productive. Another great potential source of information that you should explore is to see if the county Assessor’s office has an online property search. Most county offices have a website, and if you go the the Assessor’s web page you can look to see if they have any kind of online property search. Usually if they have one there will be a clickable button that says “property search”, “public records search”, “online search”, “GIS mapping”, or something similar. If the county that you are interested in has one of these online searches, you can usually find out whatever information is available by typing in the legal description of the property or the parcel number into an online search form that they provide. The county Clerk/Recorder and the county Treasurer might also have internet search pages that can be useful to you. Be aware that when you search for a county office from an online search engine some of the results that come up will be for websites owned by private companies.

The first question you may have about a property is water availability. Is water available from a local utility or will it be available in the near future? If water must be obtained by well is a well feasible on the property you’re considering? How much is water likely to cost? Is a sewer connection available or will you need a septic system?  If so what are the requirements and can your property meet them? If the county has a Department Of Planning & Zoning that is a good starting place in your search for information, or perhaps a Department Of Community Development or a Building Department. You may also be able to get information on zoning, general area development, access roads, and planned development. Failing those, maybe the County Assessor’s Office can either answer your questions or refer you to someone who can. If the land you are considering is near a town, you can try calling the municipal office and they might be able to tell you who can give you this information. You might be able to find local utilities if any, well drillers, and sewage/septic companies that are familiar with the area, by using an internet search engine.

Questions regarding electricity and telephone service availability can be answered similarly.

To verify land ownership, you will need the legal description of the property. Telephone the County Assessor’s Office, and tell them that you would like to find out who the owner of record is for the property. Write down the name they give you, and also ask them for the full parcel number of the property. Your next call, to the County Treasurer’s Office, is to verify that the taxes on the property are not delinquent. They will probably ask you for the parcel number. They can tell you if the taxes are delinquent, and they can also tell you how much the annual taxes are for the property. If you want to see a copy of the deed you can usually purchase one from the County Clerk/Recorder’s office. You will probably need to ask the Assessor’s office for the book and page number of the deed so that you can give that information to the Clerk/Recorder’s office, enabling them to find the deed.

21. Is my property in a flood zone?

A common question that people have about a property is, “Is it in a flood zone?”.

Here’s how to find out.  You will need GPS coordinates.  For this example I’m going to use a property in Luna County, New Mexico.  It is El Dorado Estates, Unit 4, Block 8, Lots 2 and 4.  From our website sales listing I see that the approximate GPS coordinates for the northwest corner of this pair of lots are 32.034614° -107.798633°.

Next go to the FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer:  https://hazards-fema.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8b0adb51996444d4879338b5529aa9cd

There is a search box in the top left corner of the screen which says “Find address or Place”.  Copy and paste the GPS coordinates you want to use in this search box and click the magnifying glass to search.

Once the search is complete and the map shows your property, you can either just move around the map and zoom in / out or you can print a map of the property. To print the map you will head up to the top left of the screen again and click on the Toolbox Icon underneath the search bar. This will bring up the “NFHL Print Tool” box.

Click on the pin tool, which is to the left of the red box with an image of a trash can.  Then click on the map in the small blue box where your coordinates are located. After placing the pin go back to the NFHL window and scroll down. There will be two drop boxes. For “Size” select “Full FIRM” and for “File Format” select whichever you prefer. After the pin is placed and the two dropbox selections are made, click the “Run” button at the bottom right of the tool window.

Your map will be created, and a link to it will appear under “OutputFile”.  Click on that link.

There’s your map, which you can look at where it is or download by clicking the download button in the top right area of your screen.

22. GPS Coordinates

The GPS coordinates given on our website are to the best of our knowledge.  We use whatever information we have available, county GIS information, state GIS information, plat maps, satellite mapping, etc., to give you the most accurate location information that we can. Getting a survey of the property would be the only way to get actual GPS points.

We began YourCheapLand.com using the traditional Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS) format.  We have started the long term project of converting over to DD (Decimal Degrees) format.  The first set of coordinates expresses a location’s latitude, which is how far it is north or south from the equator.  The second set of coordinates expresses a location’s longitude, which is how far west or east it is from an established north-south line that runs through Greenwich, England.

An example location given in Degrees Minutes Seconds would be 34°31’11″N, 106°37’44″W.  Spoken aloud this would be “Thirty four degrees, thirty one minutes, eleven seconds north; one hundred six degrees, thirty seven minutes, forty four seconds west”.

In addition to Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS), two other widely used formats are Degrees and Decimal Minutes (DDM), and Decimal Degrees (DD).  You would express the above location using the Degrees and Decimal Minutes format like this:  34°31.18333’N, 106°37.73333’W.  You would express it using the Decimal Degrees format like this:  34.5197222°N, 106.6288889°W.  There are minor variations in how these numbers are presented, depending on the specific application.

You might have the need to convert a set of GPS coordinates from one format to another.  For example, you might have a handheld GPS unit that uses a format other than Degrees Minutes Seconds.  On the internet you can easily find how to use math to convert one format to another, or you can just plug them in to one of the existing converters that various people have posted online.  We used the converter provided online by Directions Magazine in order to convert the coordinates listed above.

23. Read This Before Driving To A Property

Too many times we receive calls for help from both potential and actual customers as they are unable to find a specific property.  Usually the problem is that they are relying on phone based or vehicle based navigation systems.  These typically perform poorly in very rural situations.  Something like a Google street map can be worse than useless in these situations.  Those kinds of mapping systems do not have reliable information on the kinds of trail roads that you will likely be using to access a property that is far from the nearest maintained road.

You should buy a good quality handheld GPS navigation device, such as a Garmin Etrex.  These are reasonably priced in department stores, sporting goods stores, and online.  Take some time to familiarize yourself with it, go through the various menus on the device while you are reading the user’s guide for reference.

Also plan on looking at your property’s location on Google Earth or Google Maps in satellite view.  Satellite view is critical, you need to look at the actual ground, not a map simulation.  Look for trails, even just tire tracks in the most remote locations.  Figure out what seems to you to be the best route to drive there.  Write down the GPS coordinates of turns.  When you are driving, your navigation device will show you your location in GPS coordinates and you can easily see when you are approaching or moving away from a given set of coordinates.  You can also program in the coordinates of turns as waypoints in your navigation device, and even store a pre-planned route in it.  If you see more than one possible way to go, write down some notes.  When you are actually on your way there on the ground, it may become obvious that one way is superior to another.

We started our website using the traditional DMS (Degrees Minutes Seconds) format for GPS coordinates.  We have begun the long term project of converting over to DD (Decimal Degrees) format.  A device such as an Etrex has a setup area in its menu where you can specify what system of GPS coordinates to use.  It is very important that you have your device set up to use whichever system that your coordinates are in.

These kinds of things can seem intimidating if you have not dealt with them before.  If you take your time to prepare before leaving home to visit a property, you will find that it isn’t a mystery at all.  Plan on spending some time familiarizing yourself with your handheld navigation device, and planning out your route using Google Earth or Google Maps in satellite view, preferably using a desktop or laptop PC.  In addition to the users manual that should come with your navigation device, there is a lot of helpful information on the internet.

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