Bryan Cooper

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Buying Mountain Property – Lots and Land Tracts

What is your Purpose for Buying Mountain Property?
Determining your intentions for buying mountain property will help you discern whether you’re looking for a lot or a land tract. A lot is generally a land tract that has been developed already; it’s been approved by the county, and typically, depending on the phase of development, has roads and utilities installed. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, tracts tend to serve those who want to live off of the land or develop a homestead; lots provide space for a home in a community.

Buying Mountain Property: What You Need to Know About Lots
In addition to considering the plot of land itself, one of the most important factors when buying a lot is the surrounding community. Beyond school districts, taxes, and other civic supports take time to investigate the homeowner’s association. The association will take responsibility for maintenance of roads, pools, cleanliness, and peace of the neighborhood. Be sure to ask if the association (and the developer) is in good financial health, who is maintaining the association, and if it has a good standing relationship with the developer.

Buying Mountain Property: What You Need to Know About Land Tracts
When buying a land tract in the mountains, it’s important to consider not only what you’d like to do with the land now, but what you’d like to see happen to the land in the future. Right now you may want this mountain property as a homestead for future generations. But down the road, you may find yourself in a position to sell the property to a developer or put it into a conservation. Consequently, more research is often needed when buying larger tracts of mountain property: light exposure, water access, a right of way, usability for current and future plans. You’ll also want to look into restrictive covenants versus protective covenants for the property.

What kind of Covenants will be on my Mountain Property?
Buying a lot in a subdivision may come with restrictive covenants to keep the homes looking uniform. Sometimes architectural and landscaping committees delineate specific structural guidelines for building new homes. Tracts tend to have looser, protective covenants that protect your investment by restricting practices that would devalue your property, such as banning junk cars, exposed blocks, limiting farm animals, etc. Example: you probably couldn’t pee off your porch or shoot a groundhog under restrictive covenants of a subdivision, but the protective covenants bound to a land tract usually don’t enforce such regulations. Even if you’re not interested in groundhog hunts or a long-distance urination, the research on covenants will still provide valuable insight into your future mountain property and its surrounding areas.