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Land of the Whitetail
I would like to purchase some land hopefully in the next several years. I would consider my income to be average I guess, this seems like a huge commitment financially. Thinking about it sometimes it feels like a real possibility, other times it just seems like it is just to much.

I would like to buy an 80. I am trying to be realistic, obviously more would be nice, but just doesn't seem like that would ever be realistic financially. For the most part it seems people who buy are very happy. Anyone regret buying property? I am looking to buy rec ground for hunting and would love to put a small cabin on it. 80 seems like a solid size, I could buy a 30 etc now, but that just seems to small. For those that own land here how much do you have? Do you regret it or love it? Finding the 'right' piece seems to be a challenge.

Side note.........seriously, who buys these like 250 all the way to 500 acre pieces that push a million or more dollars??!!! Must be a lot of lawyers, doctors, etc that like to hunt.
I love it!!

I started with 80 acres bought cheap in MN, no regrets at all. I've got over 500 acres now and have good equity and income from the land. Very good hunting too, kids love it, wife doesn't mind it...very proud to be a landowner!

I know some guys on this site with way more land and they are not doctors or lawyers!
I want to buy land, only own acreage now. Thought I had a perfect 160 worked out with help, but developer blew $ up. Been a year and I still think about what could have been. It's all about timing. If you find something you really want, spend what you can, unless you plan to resell it
Land is an asset that will appreciate in value if purchased correctly. Starting small and working your way up is the best advice unless you absolutely find the dream piece you never want to sell or you find a deal that provides the ability to flip into something else relatively quick. Remember to evaluate potential ROI on any piece. Cash renting and logging are two immediate potential returns along with certain governmental programs if the ground is eligible.
Buy it right and you can upgrade over time. Things to look for are crp farms that could be reenrolled in a few years at a higher rate. Improve the land, raise the income, than flip it for something a little bigger. I started with a decent size farm, held it for four years and was able to move up to a bigger place. I think in a couple years should be able to do it again. I love it but it has added some stress when you start dealing with that kind of money. Its a lot of money no matter what your income or job is. I would recommend buying something you can afford while still being able to put money aside for the next piece as well if it turns out its not exactly what you wanted. Maybe you do find that dream piece you won't want to sell anyway, I wouldn't get to caught up in trying to keep up with what other's have.
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If it were just about killing big deer, I'd prefer to go knock on doors and chase the big ones. When it comes to enjoying my time and making a good investment, I love my farm.

Buy whatever you can afford, improve it, sell it, move on. Scott pretty well nailed it. Don't fall in love with anything if you want to grow.
Have bought 6 rec. farms over the last 12 years. Sold 3 and did 1031 exchange to upgrade and buy the 3 farms I currently own, 330 acres one of which is a house on an 80. Nothing like rolling out of bed and walking out the back door to hunt. The farms have been the single BEST investment I have ever made. SCARY at first, but am always looking for more ....Hard to part with land,but, if you are looking and find something better not so tough.......as noted in previous posts.....buy, improve and keep if you love it,but sell in you can upgrade.....Also, take advantage of government programs to improve your property...makes it more attractive to potential buyers if you have a "turn Key" property. Lastly, put out lots of cameras to get as many good mature buck pics as you can. Buyers want to see what the farm can produce and are willing to pay a premium for a quality farm......BUY as soon as you find a good farm at a fair price....even if a 40....
Echo above. No regrets in the least. My only regrets are ones that are pointless that I can't control... Not buying sooner & more.
Farms are a lot of work if u want to transform them right, imo. Some folks just do some plots & call it a day. Which is actually pretty easy. I probably have gone overboard with transforming every square inch of my ground I can. Tree plantings, native grasses, all the tsi, building ponds, intense food plot management & farming, waterway & buffer strips, gates/fencing, specialized farm equipment, etc. thousands of hours of very hard work. Honestly, some of which has taken a toll on my body which is something I've had to think about more. My farms have been the equivalent of buying a run down, beat to crap falling apart house & completely gutting & renovating every inch of it. Transforming farms is brutal work, immense time and a huge commitment IF u take to extreme degree. I do not recommend taking to extreme degree unless u really have the crazed passion, knowledge (comes with a lot of time, research & mistakes), ability, time, etc. There is nothing wrong with owning 40 or 80 acres & putting in a few plots each year, hunting when u want and having a blast out there. Very doable and incredibly rewarding. I started with 80 acres doing that 2 years later I got into tsi, tree plantings, plots, etc. that was right outta college so it can be done. Find something your comfy with, a work load on farm that's reasonable & buy a piece that fits your needs/budget and I personally don't think u will ever regret it. Off the top of my head, out of a lot of guys that purchased farms- I honestly can't think of any that regret it. Maybe the ones I'm not thinking of simply sold??? So- I won't even just speak for myself- the guys who decided land was right for them (and it's not for everyone to be clear!!!) - I can't think of any that regret it. Fulfilling, rewarding and for ME- I know I enjoy my hunting seasons far more on my own farms and find hunting season far more relaxing, peaceful & great times/memories with family.
Nice if you can afford 80 or even more,,but I could only make a 40. For hunting I think I have done pretty well. After finding out I bought land in about the worst place for hunting in SE Iowa,,I have harvested a few 5 and 6 yr old deer. I have friends in Mi, that have to drive all over Nat Forest land, and deal with others to hunt,,and I send them pictures of bucks I took just a 10 minute walk out my door! Land any size is a great investment. I just heard two financial advisors on the radio. Bothsaid the best investments today were,,Gold,,and Land,,,
The only regret I have is buying with partners. My suggestion: buy on your own, even if that means a smaller farm.
When I bought my first piece, I didn't regret "buying land" but I did regret the certain land I bought. Everyone will tell you to know the neighborhood but if you're not from the area I think that's almost impossible; especially when there are many small parcel neighbors and not just a couple large tracts. The neighbors would drive the fence lines in their truck and ATV at sun up and sun down while blasting off their shotguns at who know what. Imagine sitting in your treestand in November for your first hunt on the property and witnessing that...all that money and time for virtually nothing is gut wrenching. Thankfully I was able to unload the property and actually make money on it.

I'm not trying to discourage you at all; just sharing my experience. In fact, I immediately bought a new piece and have no doubt that I won't have to deal with that here. It took me a while to achieve the landowner dream and mostly it was allowed to happen because my wife said OK :) it's a commitment of course. Another "problem" I can see happening to other as it has to me, is that every time I think about more land, the acres always get bigger! I only have 100 acres now but at age 28 I have plenty of time to grow. Owning a piece of heaven means a lot to me. Good luck to you
Make it a 40 or even a 20. Don't let it be a burden where you worry all the time. Those parcels are plenty big for one hunter. In a heartbeat I would sell all my acres for the right 20. It would be pinch point or funnel from two big timbers during the rut. Like others have said start small and you can always upgrade or add more. Keep it fun!
Perfect advice above. I've bought and upgraded a few times with great success. Look for the diamond in the rough and BE READY TO BUY.

If you plan on financing the property, visit with some local bankers in the areas you're looking. If the land is totally vacant and unimproved (no dwellings, ponds, etc.), you may have to put upwards of 30-40% cash down.
Are most of you guys living on the property you bought? Also, how much $ did you put down. I have a decent amount saved up but am gun shy about pulling the trigger. I would probably have to carry a double mortgage since the Mrs. wont want to move out in the sticks. I don't want to be over extended so that part scares me a bit.
Are most of you guys living on the property you bought? Also, how much $ did you put down. I have a decent amount saved up but am gun shy about pulling the trigger. I would probably have to carry a double mortgage since the Mrs. wont want to move out in the sticks. I don't want to be over extended so that part scares me a bit.

If the property isn't your primary residence, you'll more than likely have to put a minimum of 20% down, probably closer to 30% even with perfect credit.
For your first farm, you might have to look at an income farm that can be fixed up into a hunting farm. It's amazing what a rough farm with a few wooded draws can be turned into with CRP/tree plantings/ponds/food plots etc....

Plus it is fun project and very rewarding.

*The income can make the payment or help make the payment.
Finding the right piece seems to be a struggle. Just tough to know where to buy, how far do I want to travel, what the neighborhood like, etc. I would love to be able to improve the property once I buy it, but just that seems like a huge investment. I would have to buy equipment etc.

Anyone know of any resources where I can do more reading up on what all it takes more on the financial side?

If you were starting out what would you look for in a property?
I echo what a lot of these guys said. Buy it by yourself if you can - no one to disagree with about how to manage the place. If I had to do it all again, I would buy something with more income potential. I say that not only to help with payments, but also when it is paid off, it's making me some money still too. You'll pay a little more for farmable ground, but you can also enroll in CRP or get cash rent. I bought some ground that would be a little tougher to farm, but because of that I paid less per acre and was able to purchase more acres. There was a trade off. If I did it again, I would find something that could be farmed.

I like what others said about improving the ground. Improving my property has been a tremendous undertaking, but is so rewarding and enjoyable. My family and friends have helped me out immensely with tree plantings, NWSG establishment, food plots, orchards, hanging stands and more. It's great to be able to spend time with those people doing something that can leave a real legacy for years to come after I'm gone. It's improved the value of the ground. Even if I never sell, I'll pass it on to the next generation and all that work that's been done will have paid its dividends.
Not a bad idea to get with a realtor that specializes in land/farms. You have no commitment whatsoever with that from the purchase side. Example: someone from Mossy Oak Properties can show you any property you stumble across or may know of some before they are listed. Just don't fall into pressure because after all, they make money from selling.

Not true that you need equipment. The right cash renter will help you out. I own only an ATV and if I need big work done, the farmer helps me out. You be surprised what you can so with herbicides, fire and a chainsaw. And the right improvements have great cost share opportunities with the DNR or conservation office.

I think there is way too much to type out here about the finance side. Requirement from a lender is straight forward (25-35% down at min) but there is way more that goes into that at a personal finance level before you even get to that point. Like, is the property your only investment instrument or is the down payment your "funny money" after you already contribute to 401k and IRA and kids college fund and vacation fund and the list goes on. The light turned green on my land purchase after I had all that under control so spending the money in the land doesn't make me worry financially. Once your ready to purchase, factor in things like CRP pymts, cash rent, tax breaks from timber reserves, and possible tax and interest income tax deductions if you set it up as a second home or primary home for that matter. Think about whether it makes sense to you to pay interest on an investment...sometimes it can...for sure though land is a great investment when paid for in cash. Guess I don't know of a one stop shop to find all that info but things to think about.

One thing I learned is that once you own that piece, there will be more expenses like more tree stands, soil samples, lime and fertilizer, herbisides, seed, fuel driving there (my prop is an hour away and that's the sweet spot for me to get away from the metro) and of course the long days you spend pouring sweat and blood into it. I didn't anticipate ALL the extras right away
Some things I consider in a new property:
-keep it within 1:30 of your primary residence
-does it have or the potential to have food, cover & water. Always look for cover first, the other two elements can generally be quickly developed
-how much land do the neighbors have. Research the county plat map, ideally you don't want 10 neighbors that each own 20-40 acres in your section
-has the land been surveyed
-how is the fencing (trust me on this, good fencing makes for good neighbors)
-The neighbors that are there, do you see packs of dogs running around? Do they generally take care of their stuff? Is their front yard a junkyard?
-how will my best stands be accessed (predominantly N & NW winds, etc)
-avoid major road frontage if possible
-would flooding ever be an issue
-how quickly could I sell the property if I needed to. Is it in a desirable area?
-is there existing income in the way of cash rent
-what stage is the timber in, how long till a potential harvest
-how close is it to a town for supplies, one property I had the nearest town was 45 minutes away. Major issue if you need a last-minute supply.
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