So you want to purchase land in Kalispell or elsewhere in Flathead County, Montana. The following will walk you through the process of doing so.
Decide how you are going to fund your land purchase.
Your options can include cash, owner financing (if seller is interested in this, many are not), home equity line-of-credit or loan, land mortgage (only a few financial institutions will provide these and a large down payment is typically needed), personal loan, borrow against a 401(k), use a construction loan if buying land AND building, or gift.
Please note, if you are using cash you will need to provide “proof of funds” prior to making an offer, and if you are using a mortgage, you will need a pre-approval prior as well. For more information on funding options, check out this link.
Identify your must-haves and your nice-to-haves.
Similar to purchasing a home, there are many options when purchasing land in the Kalispell area. Do you want views, and if so, what specific type of view do you want? For options on views, click this link. How will you be using the land? For hunting? A home? A shop? A garden? Will you have pets? Horses? Livestock? Are you okay with property that has covenants (rules) and an HOA? Or do you want a non-zoned, non-regulated parcel? For more aspects to consider, click here.
If you want rural land, make sure you’re sure!
Flathead County Planning and Zoning put together a useful booklet about rural living. The information includes things you need to know about the actual property/land; for example water rights, soil, noxious weeds, fences and property boundaries. Also access can be somewhat challenging on a rural parcel. Will you have to drive your children to the bus stop? Will you have to bring your garbage somewhere? And what about service delivery, both in terms of getting your home or cabin built and in terms of regular deliveries? And what about Mother Nature? She can rear her head from time to time. And finally, wildlife. Do you want to live where deer, elk, bear, puma and more roam?
Once you know these things, it’s time to hire a real estate professional.
You could certainly look at listings on any of the popular home search sites and then call the listing agent for information and assistance. But hiring a buyer agent who is working for you has many advantages. First, they work for you. The listing agent works for the seller. And most of the time you don’t have to pay the buyer agent; their commission usually comes from the seller. And a buyer agent can provide you useful information such as price analysis, appropriate contingencies to include, information on new developments coming to that particular area, and more. They will help you navigate disclosures, funding process, appraisals, inspections and get to closing in a smooth and hopefully fun fashion.
Select and find properties to view.
Once you are working with a real estate agent, let them know what you decided in all the steps above. Your agent will find the right properties to tour that meet your requirements, and then off you go to walk the properties. If you are looking at large parcels, remember to wear appropriate footwear, bring water and, if you have it, bear spray. Just in case.
Make an offer.
Once you find the perfect property, you’ll make an offer. Your real estate professional will provide market information to help you decide the proper offer price. Some of the things you’ll need to decide will be the amount of the offer, the amount of earnest money, which is money paid within three business days of a signed contract. That money goes to the title company and is held until closing, where it is used as part of the settlement. You’ll also need to come up with a reasonable requested closing date, any contingencies you wish to ask for, and the date your offer is good until. When all that is decided, you’ll need to sign a bunch of forms. The signed buy-sell form (offer form) will be submitted to the seller’s agent along with your pre-approval and/or proof of funds.
Once the seller receives your offer, they have three options: say no with no counter-offer, counter-offer on any of the terms you’ve included, or say yes. If they counter-offer, you may decide to do the same: reject, counter or accept. This continues until you either cannot reach agreement, or the seller signs and you are under contract.
From contract to closing.
Once you are under contract, the contract gets submitted to the title company and mortgage company (if appropriate), and both processes are underway. You will do any additional investigation into the land you may wish to do, the mortgage company will conduct an appraisal, and the title company will do a title search and send a report for your review. As you move through the process, your agent will be there to help you understand everything and help you meet your deadlines.
In Montana, attorneys are rarely used to sell or purchase property and the closing is done by the title company. The buyer and seller will often sign separately, sometimes on separate days as well if one party is out of town. After the closing is completed, the deed is recorded, and you will be the happy owner of Montana land! Time to celebrate!
If you need assistance purchase land in the Kalispell (or surrounding) area, call me at 406-270-3667 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm ready to assist!
Originally published at thehousekat.com.