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Due Diligence For Purchasing Real Estate Outside a Municipality

by | Jan 30, 2019 | TIER Plus

Buying Rural Property: Essential Due Diligence for Your Real Estate Purchase

When buying rural property, especially outside of a municipality, due diligence becomes a crucial aspect of securing a parcel with clear title, financing, and insurability. While a home in a platted subdivision may have fewer concerns, rural properties demand careful investigation in various areas:


Unless there was a subdivision of a larger parcel and you can find the monument corners for your subject parcel, a ground survey or drone mapping flyover is recommended as a contingency of a purchase contract. A ground survey will determine the true boundaries of the parcel, rather than relying on alleged markers like hedges or fences, which frequently are not accurate representations.


Regardless of the parcel’s zoning, you need to know what is allowed, including conditional uses, and whether a variance may be required for your planned use. Visit your county planning department for zoning information.


If your parcel needs septic wastewater treatment onsite, you may need percolation testing. If there are significant rock outcroppings or other obstructions to the provision of an underground septic system, particularly with drainage fields (primary and backup) but also with piping, significant additional expense may be incurred. Check with your potential future neighbors for their experience with their land. Oral representations should be gathered as a first step, but never the deciding factor in a purchase decision.


Water rights are generally gained by diverting water from a natural source to a beneficial use. If there is a well on your prospective parcel, you will need to contact DOE for the well driller’s information. Vacant parcels not served by an existing diversion will likely have no water rights, so don’t look for or expect them.

Diverse Needs

Be sure to account for diverse needs for your planned use, such as physical accommodations for individuals with disabilities or assessment of public school education.

Timely Contract Solutions

For Buyers: Use TIER Plus for a custom due diligence analysis of particular circumstances of the parcel you are considering. Understand the cost associated with each circumstance so you don’t overpay for the property.

For Sellers: Use TIER Plus for a custom due diligence analysis of particular circumstances of the parcel so you understand the market value of the parcel. Don’t be caught unawares by a hard-nosed negotiator. Use TIER Plus to substantiate your ask price.

Use Timely Contract solutions to avoid common problems of the real estate transaction… and to sleep better at night!

This posting is not legal advice. Legal advice is based on specific facts. This information is general in nature.

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