Many recreational land buyers want to find a property in an area that is far enough away from home that they can escape to a remote sanctuary. Usually that means driving, at minimum, two or three hours from home. So when a buyer is looking for properties to consider, it’s important to make every fact-finding trip count.

With that in mind, here are five tips for buyers to make the first property visit the most productive it can be.

1. Determine how you want to use the property, which will help you determine what features you are looking for.

For example, will you hunt on the property? If so, quality wildlife, water sources and ground cover are important.

Will you be looking at the property as a timber investment? If so, the number, quality and age of the trees will play into your decision.

Do you want complete privacy and plenty of space between you and the neighbors? If so, you will want to look at larger tracts.

Are you looking for investment in land that has future subdivision potential? Some buyers want to have the possibility of subdividing their land at some point in the future.

Once you have answers to these questions, it will help narrow down the options to several specific properties that match your needs in terms of size and features.

2. Decide a range for what you are willing to pay, and be realistic.

Pricing for recreational property in many parts of the country has bottomed out and is actually increasing in some areas. Couple that with the fact that fewer owners are doing “distressed” sales, and we are finding that the spreads between listing prices and sales prices are often narrower now than they were several years ago.

So have a realistic budget in mind: This will prevent you from wasting your time looking for properties that are beyond what you want to spend.

But also know there are ways to think creatively as you look for your dream property. For example, if you can’t afford, say, an entire 600-acre property with the features that fit your wish list, perhaps the seller would be willing to let you buy a piece of it.

3. Use technology to get a feel for the properties you are thinking about visiting.

Using such tools as Google Earth and aerial photos, you can be helped to get a feel for such things as topography, road access and proximity to nearby amenities.

4. Think about more than just the geographic features of a property: Also think about how the property will fit into your lifestyle.

We are finding that many recreational land buyers are looking for a recreational property as a place they may want to live full-time someday, or even in the very near future.

If that is the case, it is important to ask such questions as: Is the property suitable for building a house? Could I find part-time work nearby? Is proximity to electricity an issue? How close are such retailers as grocery stores, home improvement stores and drug stores? What is the climate like? Are there any county restrictions or building permits I need to consider?

5. Research your financing options in advance.

Currently, very few banks and lenders are still financing loans on recreational property, or any property for that matter, that is not being built on.

Is the owner willing to finance the property.  If so, how much are you willing to put down? And what would you like your monthly payments to look like?

Considering everything from financing to your desire for privacy will help you make that first trip efficient for everyone involved. After all, who has time to waste time these days?

Compliments of