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New to Buying Recreational Property? Answer these questions first!

Hill River 40 in Swatara, MN, $49,900 Exclusive listing with Close~Converse Properties

If you’ve never bought recreational property – and we find that many recreational buyers are new to this – the process can seem a bit overwhelming. After all, what if you don’t know about how to value timber, how to think
about road access, or how to determine whether a tract has quality wildlife?

To get started, it helps to break things down by first answering some key questions. With the help of Rod Osterloh of by Close~Converse in Brainerd, Minnesota, one of the experts in the PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker Network, here are five questions to answer that will help you organize your thinking:

  1. How will you use the property?
    Will you use it as a hunting camp? Do you plan to build a cabin? Will you be bringing the kids or grandkids to the property? And if you’re a hunter, what are your expectations for the quality of wildlife either on the property or nearby?
  2. Does timber value matter to you?
    For some recreational land buyers, selling timber occasionally is a nice bonus to owning a tract. For others, selling timber will be important in generating cash flow that can be put back into the property for improvements like fencing, food plots and selective clearing. “It’s important to work with a real estate broker who understands forestry and can work with experts to get you an idea of the timber potential of a certain property,” Rod says.
  3. What will your plans be for the property long-term?
    Before you buy, determine your plans for ownership. Will you own the property alone, or will you share ownership with your children? You should plan to go ahead and put the property in your will, so it’s clear who would inherit it. “Make sure everyone in your family is clear about the ownership and how and when the property will be used,” Rod says. “This will prevent disagreements, which can make the whole experience unpleasant – and that’s the last thing you want.”
  4. Do you plan to build on the property someday?
    This is a question you should answer now, because it would be frustrating to buy a property and then realize later that it isn’t the best acreage for your retirement cabin. “If someone wants to build later, we will look at everything from road access to availability for power, to whether the property has a quality building site,” Rod says. “Even if you are thinking you won’t build for five to 10 years, let’s figure that out now so there are no surprises later.”
  5. What should I look for in a real estate broker to help me?
    This one’s easy. It’s imperative that you work with a broker who understands recreational real estate, which is very different from selling homes. Look for someone who has a passion for the outdoors, understands how to evaluate the pricing of a rural tract, and will give you great personal service. Also, “if the real estate professional doesn’t know the area where you are looking, that person won’t be of much help in finding the perfect property for your needs,” Rod says.

Rod and the other pros in the PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker Network are highly experienced in selling recreational real estate, and they are experts in their neck of the woods. No matter what questions you have after getting these five questions figured out, they will either have the answer or get you the answer – making the process a lot easier and a lot less intimidating.

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