Ask a Realtor: The upside of buying land in the winter (column)
January 11, 2019
Dear Joan: Call me crazy, but I am looking at buying some land in Eagle County this winter. I know I cannot actually see the dirt now (without digging down) but I feel good about knowing what area I want to be in and I feel that sellers might be more motivated this time of year.
Plus, my theory is that there might be more competition for purchasing prime locations in the spring/early summer.
What are your thoughts? Do you think there will be a lot more property coming on the market this spring so I should wait? Do you think the market might take a dive in 2019, so I should wait to see if the pricing might drop in the next six months?
Just thought I would get your educated opinion before moving forward. Thanks.
— Future Land Owner
Dear Future Land Owner: You are doing an excellent job at looking at all of the aspects that can affect your purchase. My first suggestion is to find a concerned, knowledgeable Realtor that also knows the area(s) that you are looking in, or even possibly knows some areas you have not considered, that might work for you and be an excellent value in the future. In general, you are correct that sellers of "dirt" might be more amenable to a well-written offer on their property now, more so than in May or June.
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For instance, right now, there is a ranch that is divided into 22 parcels that are 35 acres or more up Sweetwater and the owner will allow a buyer to reserve a lot for $5,000 (fully refundable) now, until spring. After that, any lot choice of what is left would have to do a full-blown offer with a substantial amount of earnest money. And yes, there may be more properties come available as the snow melts, but more buyers and more competition for the prime locations, as you mentioned.
Now, of course, "prime location" can be different in the eyes of each buyer, but there are some basic qualities that make a lot or an acreage more appealing to most, and therefore should bring a higher resale value.
Your Realtor can help you choose the best location (proximity to positives and distance from negatives), the best direction for views and sun and the pluses and minuses to the slope and terrain.
Availability to water, utilities and other services, depending on your location, affects your building costs and your ability to resell.
Lastly, my best guess is that we will have a great real estate year in 2019. By that I mean that the prices will not shoot up, but neither will values drop. A good market to deal in, whether buying or selling, in my opinion.
Plus, if you buy now, you can start enjoying your snow covered "dirt" right away. Good luck.
Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-337-7777 or http://www.skiandtee homes.com.
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