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Why you need a land expert to help build a home


A brain surgeon specializes in brain surgery. A podiatrist helps with foot pain. When it comes to finding the right doctor, patients choose based on need.

When it comes to the right way to buy land for a new home, Great Lakes Land Co.’s Randy Mann says that finding a specialist is just as important.

“There’s a lot more than meets the eye in a land deal,” Mann said. “Just because you walk into a real estate office doesn’t mean they’ll always understand exactly what you need.”


Mann and his company serve as brokers in addition to real estate professionals. A broker, Mann said, is like a real estate agent with extra certification.

“Just like you don’t want to have your heart surgeon doing brain surgery or your brain surgeon doing foot surgery, you want the right person for the job,” Mann said. “That’s why buying land from a person or a company or an agency that deals only in land will save a lot of time running around.”

Land experts can find the right parcel

Real estate investors looking to build a new home on a vacant property are as finicky as homebuyers who look at 25 homes before finding the right one.

A land expert can narrow the options, showing those that are ready to build based on a buyer’s needs.


“In a market when the inventory is low, buyers don’t have a lot of options in existing homes, so they want to build,” Mann said. “You have to know how big a space you can build on based on what kind of home you want to have.”

Some vacant land has already been percolated, or soil tested, and prepared for building. It is electrical-ready, and trees and brush have been removed to create enough space to build.

Other plots, however, haven’t been through appropriate testing and will need tree removal and sodding to prepare the build. These plots could cost a homebuilder $10,000-$20,000 before the building starts, Mann said.

“A land expert can help you find something that’s turnkey ready or that fits your needs,” he said. “We have some parcels that offer the ability to camp — bring up a fifth-wheel or an RV — for 180 days out of the year because a buyer might live downstate or out of state, and they’re not ready to commit, yet.”


Land experts understand title work

In addition to building a home or helping a new property owner find a builder, land experts can walk buyers through the title process.

In vacant land cases of easements or title flaws, Mann said that a land expert will catch issues that other real estate professionals might miss.

“I think a person that deals in the land is more adept at reviewing some of the things that can get you in trouble,” he said.

Land experts cut out the middle man

Mann said he often takes calls from other real estate professionals who are helping clients find vacant land to build a full-time home or part-time hunting cabin.


While he’s always happy to help, the buyer could save time by starting with a land broker.

“Buyers get fatigued looking at land more so than people who are just looking for a house,” Mann said. “It’s tough enough and exhausting to just look for a home. Imagine if you’re not from the area or are driving all over not sure what you’re looking at.”

Buyers building their dream home or finding the right spot for an Up North summer cabin can call a land broker first, Mann recommends.

“An expert will start you in the right location and save time,” he said.

Learn more about buying property from the experts at Great Lakes Land Co.

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