Buying land in Texas takes a couple of steps but is well worth it for your own plot. How do you find and buy land in Texas?
While you can find land in Texas using many methods, we will also look at how to be prepared to purchase the land you found. In no particular order, you’ll want to secure financing or cash, then potentially find the land you want.
We’ll walk you through the land buying process in Texas one step at a time. There is no real particular order to the start, but we’ll make it clear what you have to do to find and buy land in Texas.
- A future property owner could start with getting financing squared away first, or find their land first
- We would suggest getting financing arranged in more competitive markets do you don’t get left behind trying to arrange a loan
- You can readily use the Internet, a realtor, or other search methods, including driving around and finding land you like.
- A realtor is a good idea, though not required, to start the finish the contract process that gets a deed for the land.
Table of Contents
Step 1 to buying land in Texas: Financing
Real estate is amongst the highest priced things a person can buy, so financing is often required. If you have the cash to buy land, good for you - you can avoid the banking process of getting a loan and if the seller agrees, you might be able to take possession of the land faster.
Financing land might be more difficult than average. You’ll want a substantial cash down payment - usually 30% depending on the bank. You are also best off pursuing a local credit union or small bank, as national banks don’t always offer land loans because they see them as high risk.
Financing your Texas land purchase doesn’t have to be the first step though. You could go find the land, then seek financing afterward. In a competitive market, you’ll probably want to seek financing first though so you can move quickly toward your purchase instead of pursuing what would be tough to receive funds while a seller is listening to offers.
Step 2 to buying land in Texas: Find land
If you want to find land in Texas, you’ll probably find it in one of a few ways
There are lots of sites out there that are focused on real estate, and a few that are focused more on selling land without homes. These sites often come up when searching for land for sale. Note that since there are so many websites out there, the land you want might be listed on every site. You could find yourself subscribing to multiple sites to find just the right place because the seller or realtor doesn’t want to spend money on too many listings.
Speaking of realtors, they are an excellent method of finding a plot of land in Texas. The realtor's job is literally to know about land for sale, and to pursue it when their buyer wants it. They might know a little more than the websites about what is coming up next just through networking. With all of that said, you should choose whether or not to use a realtor based on your own skills and preferences.
Drive by it
Some land isn’t listed for sale anywhere besides on the lot itself. Land sellers who do this tend to want to keep the land locally owned, so they just put up a sign indicating it is for sale.
Magazines and newspapers
People still list their land in the newspaper! Some people use a very wide strategy that includes the Internet and local publications that you can find at your grocery store. We suggest checking out publications like this frequently to see if anything changes.
Where in Texas?
While we’ve suggested methods of finding land, deciding where to actually buy land in Texas may require some research, too. Do you want rural land for a farm and a house? Are you preferring a smaller plot? You might want to look up local crime rates, schools, and other factors if you plan to have a family in Texas.
Step 3: Making an offer to buy land in Texas
In a competitive market, this can be one of the harder parts. How much do you offer? What’s in the contract? These are questions you’ll want to ask after studying the land and comparables as well as your intent for the property. A realtor can help draft this offer - or you could do it yourself though we’d suggest some legal help. We will say that buying a vacant lot is easier to do by yourself than buying a home because there are fewer inspections and issues that could come up. Still, there are very important tests like a “perc test” that determines whether or not a property can handle a septic tank, as well as environmental tests that are decided both by you and the government.
Once you make an offer and have it accepted, the bank will inspect the property to determine the value of the property To make a long story short, the property cannot be worth less than you are paying for it - though it can certainly be worth more! An inspector will measure the boundaries of the property making sure you will not infringe on other properties nearby. They use various methods to measure the physical dimensions and verify legal boundaries that they should get from the government office.
While this sounds streamlined, you may also encounter situations where there are multiple offers available or negotiations. These are times when the knowledge and expertise of a realtor really comes in handy, in part to make sure that you are always ready to send an offer in when the seller is ready to go.
Step 4: Closing the deal for land
Buying land in Texas can mean meeting at a title company office with the current owner of the land to sign paperwork that results in exchanging checks and deeds. Once you sign all the paperwork, congrats, the land is officially yours (or the banks, depending on who financed!)
Note that even if you don’t use a realtor, we would strongly suggest you use a title company because titles are easy to mess up and hard to fix. A title company offers expertise in this area as well as title insurance in the event that something goes wrong. The researchers within the title company can also help you navigate the legal and tax backend so you don’t pay for something the previous owner should have.
How much vacant property can be found in Texas?
While it is nearly impossible to know the actual number of acres available in Texas, in part because some of it is unlisted, the fairly popular website LandWatch has over 67,000 individual lots for sale in the state of Texas. This big number should give you plenty to choose from. You’ll probably find multiple numbers across different sites as land sells or is taken off the market, and because the land isn’t always on every website.
Part of the reason for the large number is that Texas has one of the highest ratios of private to public land in the country - nearly 96% of the land in Texas is owned or available to private citizens. The rest of the land? The government owns it and uses it for government purposes.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling