Land with a deer blind
Hunting season has arrived in Illinois and Missouri. If you are having difficulty finding a landowner who will give you permission to access his/her land or if deer or turkey don’t seem as abundant on this land as in the past, perhaps it’s time for you to purchase your own piece of paradise. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Walk the Property
Look for properties that contain or are adjacent to food and/or water sources. Deer and turkey hunt daily for food. Does the property you are considering contain trees with low-hanging leafy branches, bushes with berries, broadleaf plants with flowers, or grasses? Are there nearby fields planted with corn or soybeans? Of course, resources can be added to your property in the future, but that takes money and, more importantly, time to grow and to attract animals. It’s certainly easier to start with a property that already has these food sources.
Deer are creatures of habit and may bed in the same location for days or months. Turkeys prefer to nest within 100 feet of an opening (woods road, clearing or field) so they can easily watch for predators. Does the property you are considering have cover for these animals? Look for heavy brush, tall grasses, branches from fallen trees, or pine needle bedding in which animals can rest. You want to make sure this land can be a home for them.
Do you see buck scrapes, turkey scratching and dust bowls, tracks, droppings—all signs that deer or turkey actually do visit the property. Perhaps the current landowner would allow you to hang some trail cameras so you can better understand patterns of the animals at all times of day.
Learn about your neighbors. What are their patterns of entering and leaving their property? Do they hunt, too? Is there public land adjacent to the property on which others will hunt? Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask questions.
How far is the property from your home? Travel time becomes an issue when you need to get to your blind in the wee hours of the morning or if you’ve hunted until well after dark. Can you make this trip every day during the hunting season, or will you need to consider the added expense of an overnight stay at a hotel or lodge?
Think long-term about this land. If you wish to eventually build a hunting cabin (or even a home) on the property, will you have access to roads, electricity, water?
Networking is important for land buying. Talk to your current landowner to see if they might be interested in selling all/part of the land. Talk to the owners of adjacent properties and local area residents. Call the landowners of the property your buddy leases. Some of the best properties never make it to a real estate agent or a listing site. Make sure that people know you are looking to buy.
Watch for ads. There are flyers at gas stations, co-ops and feed stores, especially in small towns. Posts are placed on Facebook and other social media sites. Watch the newspaper. These days, land is even included as part of an estate auction.
Find a real estate agent who specializes in hunting properties.
“Financing a piece of hunting property is quite similar to applying for a home loan,” says HOMEBANK Community Bank President Mark Hayes. “Your first conversation should always be with the bank. Your lender should be able to give you an estimate of hunting property values in your area. He/she will check your credit score and ask for tax returns and proof of income to help determine the size of the loan the bank might be willing to fund. Now you know how much land you can afford, a great place to start.”
Once you’ve found your piece of paradise, your banker may also question if there is farmable land on the property that you can rent out as income to help cover your loan payments. They will check the financial health (tax returns, credit score, income) of any partners purchasing this land with you. Perhaps they will ask for collateral in addition to the land, itself, to secure your loan.
In general, bankers believe that land is a good investment that will appreciate in value. As the saying goes, “they ain’t making any more of it.”
Hayes shares your love of the outdoors and hunting seasons. He owns land and he knows others who own land. Call for an appointment today…even if to just share your hunting success stories.