You may have some “curious” questions for the current owner, in addition to some of the following:
How long have you owned the property? Someone who has owned the parcel only a short time may not really know it’s long history, and may not even be familiar with the whole acreage. Ask politely who the previous owner is in such a case.
Why are you selling the property? Listen as the current owner discloses his plans.
What do you see as the best features of this property?
Do you own the access to your property? Or is access simply a right of way?
How soon can you sell the property? Ensure that his time frame will coincide with your own for buying it. A property that is part of an estate in probate may equal more time than you can afford to wait.
Are you able to sign the Deed over or are other parties involved? It may not be a problem to coordinate multiple sellers, but it is good to know about it right away. A situation of several heirs, some of whom may not be easily reached for signature, is a potential delay of closing on your purchase.
In what manner are you selling the property? Do you hope for cash now or are you willing to finance? What deposit would you require & over how many months or years would you accept payment?
What is included in the purchase price I have been quoted? What real & personal property will stay and what will go? Do not assume that everything you are looking at will be included in the transaction.
Will you tell me about your neighbors? Try to determine the relationship between this owner and his neighbors. Do some looking around to see that you are comfortable with the proximity of the neighbors, and that the surroundings seem agreeable. Ask if there has been any line or boundary dispute and how the situation was resolved.
What emergency services, including medical, are nearby? How close?
What restrictions and easements are associated with this property? Once again, there may be some covenants that will not allow you to build a certain type of home, to raise certain animals, to have multiple dwellings, etc. You need to know about these. There are typical easements on most properties, i.e. power and road easements. Inquire about others like cemetery easements or the rights of others to use the property. Ask if a copy of the document is available. May more than one dwelling be constructed per county ordinance?
Have you given any verbal permissions for others to use the property? If the answer is “yes", find out if those rights are easy to dismiss when transferring ownership.
Power? Glance around to see if power, telephone lines are readily available. If nothing is apparent, ask about nearest poles and be sure there are existing power easements. Since some land owners will not give the power company the right to cross their property, it is not always easy to obtain a new easement.
What testing has been done on the property? Inquire about percolation for well & septic, soil, termite, water testing for bacteria, etc. What was determined by the tests? Be sure the property perks if no well and septic exists or if there is no access to public utilities.
What is the zoning for this particular area? The answer will affect your possible use of the property and the value to some extent. You may check later at the county planning office to understand its potential development.
Has this area been subject to flooding at any time?
What amounts have you paid in annual taxes and insurance premiums for the property?
What changes have you seen in the area over the past years? What is the history of growth? Is the economy stable or depressed?
What changes might I expect in the area over the next years? Any expectations of development? Is there an event on the horizon that would affect the area you are considering living in?
As you can imagine, the owner may not be able to answer every question you have during your meeting, so allow him or her to research some, then follow up at an agreeable time.