Buying land in Sequim requires a lot of due diligence, and some serious comparisons, because it is almost always more expensive to buy vacant land, develop it, and build a brand new home. I have clients who have been looking for their ideal property, and their ideal property happens to be a horse property. So here’s the story of how they made offers on three properties and terminated all three offers. I share this story, because it is very instructive on what the process is and perhaps it will be helpful for you on what to do and what not to do if you are thinking about buying land in Sequim.
Buying Land in Sequim
My clients have a horse ranch where they live now, but Oregon is changing, and many of the changes are not good. As many from California have said, “it’s not the state we grew to love for so many decades.”
My clients had spent months looking at properties online, and we looked at many homes in the area and narrowed the list down to one property that would work, although they felt it was overpriced and they would have to put a lot of money into it. They made an offer on the property that was $200,000 below the listed price of $649,000. The seller was quite offended, and ended the negotiations before they got started.
Buying Land in Sequim or Port Angeles
My clients couldn’t find another suitable home, but they did decide that buying land they could build on and create their own horse property would work. After some hardball negotiating, we had an agreement for the purchase of a large parcel and started doing the due diligence. There’s a lot of due diligence to do with vacant land, but after a couple of weeks of collecting information and doing cost comparisons with buying an existing home, my clients decided to terminate this second transaction.
On to the third transaction. I had shown these same clients a home on 20 acres weeks earlier, and while they had dismissed it as unsuitable, we were back on that property. After some tough negotiating, we reached an agreement with the seller who was very motivated to sell. Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks of due diligence, my buyers terminated the agreement as they felt the property “just wasn’t the right property.” I’ve never worked with buyers who bought and terminated three transactions, all within a few months period.
First, I love my clients, and these buyers have been wonderful to work with, albeit high maintenance clients. I still appreciate them and hope to work with them again some day to find the property of their dreams, although that isn’t looking very likely now. Second, and the whole purpose of this article is that there are some lessons in all of this for you if you want to be buying land.
Lesson 1: Know what kind of property you want to buy. I think it is evident that my buyers did not have a high degree of certainty in what they wanted to buy. As a result, they bought and terminated three properties. That’s a lot of trouble, paperwork, and stress for nothing, isn’t it?
Lesson 2: Know the value of properties, at least within a range of fair market value, otherwise you might make low ball offers and tick off a seller, the listing broker, and cause a lot of wasted work for all the parties involved (escrow agents, Realtors, inspectors).
Lesson 3: Know in advance whether you want to buy an existing home or whether your true preference is buying land so you can build a new home. These are two completely different paths. Know what you want to do and the cost comparisons before you start looking at properties.
I hope this is helpful. I would add one note that many buyers already know, but if you don’t here it is. Buying an existing home that is move-in ready is far less stressful and less expensive than buying land and going through the lengthy process to build a home.
Chuck grew up in remote Alaska, graduated from the University of Alaska with a degree in Economics and Teacher Certification, and after teaching high school for two years, went to law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He served four years as a Captain and JAG in the USAF at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. After practicing real estate law for 20 years in Washington, Chuck founded iRealty Virtual Brokers covering Sequim and the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. He is the author of 2,200 real estate articles and a dozen real estate books, and he produced over 100 real estate videos. Chuck combined his love for real estate and technology to create a massive Internet presence, and his articles and videos and books have been viewed by millions. Chuck is a well recognized real estate expert and his counsel is sought by other brokers and practicing attorneys around the country. Buyers from New York to Hawaii and from Florida to Alaska seek him out to retain him as their buyer's agent, and home owners around the State of Washington seek him out because of his new Flat Fee Listing Service.
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