(the image shows a village meeting to negotiate and sign the agreements for a recent land purchase we made)
Village land is usually undocumented and untitled. For this reason it is relatively cheap compared to land within the proximity of the city. Before you buy land in the countryside you should carefully consider the following.
- Why do you need the land? Is it for expansion, development, retirement home, etc.? Always begin with the end in mind. For instance if the land is for a farming project then you should consider the soil fertility, presence of a water source, proximity to road and workers, etc.
- Accurate measurements. The village people have their own crazy way of measuring acreage which is not accurate at all. Get a surveyor to actually sketch out the proposed land and give you a clear estimate of the size of the land.
- Be careful of graveyards. A lot of village land serves as family graveyards. Inspect the land and make sure you are not buying a graveyard!
- Mark boundaries. Always mark the boundaries of your land using local plants or concrete mark stones. Be careful because som escrupulous neighbors usually move these boundary markers. If possible immediately fence off the land.
- Look out for distressed land owners. Many people in the countryside don’t have steady incomes and usually sell their land when they have family problems like a sickness at home. Because of this they are willing to sell their property below market rates. This is an opportunity to help them solve their financial problem and also acquire cheap land. For example the people who sold us land in the village had pressing problems and sold their land at fifty percent of market value!
- Negotiate like your life depended on it. Village people are smarter than you think. When they realize you’re from the city they hike their prices. Do your research and offer something way below market value. If they are desperate they will eventually come down to a reasonable price.
- Due diligence. There is a lot of fake land for sale in the village. Be careful. Talk to theneighbors and local council leaders to get the story of the land. Inspect the land before buying. If there are quarrels on the land someone is going to show up shouting!
- Written agreement. Have a clear written agreement before hand. Village people make their own hand written agreements which may not stand up in court. Use a lawyer to review your agreement. On the day of signing the agreement ensure that the neighbors, local council leaders and other witnesses sign the agreement.
- Take pictorial evidence. Take lots of pictures and videos on the day of signing the agreements. Take picture of the people signing and receiving the cash. This way they can’t deny if things go ugly.
- Tip the witnesses. You have to spare some change to tip everyone who witnessed the transaction including the brokers,neighbors, local council leaders, etc. A little cash goes a long way to build good will in the community.
- Process land titles. Immediately initiate the processing of a land title afteracquiring the land. This simple act will almost increase the value of the land significantly.
There is a lot of opportunity in the countryside. You can acquire significant assets very cheaply! The labour is cheap and there is a ready market for your goods and services. Don’t stay hungry in the city, yet you can explore many opportunities in the villages.