Virtual Real Estate Solutions : Don't Become A Victim After Your Land Purchase. Dot Your I's and Cross Your T's !

Don't Become A Victim After Your Land Purchase. Dot Your I's and Cross Your T's !

Crossville TN Real Estate

I cannot tell you how many times I have received a telephone call or an email from a Consumer after purchasing a lot for sale here in Crossville. The purpose of their call is to ask me to fix the situation they are now in because they did not use an Agent to purchase a piece of land and now, bills are steadily coming in.

Yesterday, I received a telephone call very similar to this. A couple purchased several lots in Fairfield Glade, a deed restricted community here in Crossville. When they got on the phone you could hear the panic in his voice. His wife stood standing holding a bill for Property Owner Association Fee's on several lots. In turn they wanted me to hurry, list and sell these parcels as they were never advised they would have to pay these fee's and it was stretching there wallet. When I dropped the other shoe imagine there surprise when I asked if they ever had soil tests performed to determine the size and/or location of a septic tank, if any at all. The next problem is they purchased their lots in the not yet developed area of Fairfield Glade. Which means most of the lots they purchased have no utilities ran to the street, they are on dirt roads, not paved roads and we still have no idea if they are viable to hold a septic.

Don't be fooled by the beauty of a property.

At times like this I feel bad for the Consumer but stand on the fact that This is why you need a Licensed Real Estate Agent to assist you in a purchase.

Don't be a victim to " I don't want to pay commission ".Although it seems great on the surface I can assure you that later the transaction will cost you more money, time and aggravation. A Licensed Real Estate Agent is trained to look out for your best interest. We are trained in the right questions to ask, tests to perform, contingencies to write. Whether it's a $5,000 purchase or a $500,000 purchase you are taking a grave risk not being represented by an Agent.

If you look at Lot Sales for example :

When purchasing a lot in Tennessee every buyer is to practice Due Diligence. In other words you have to do your homework. Most Consumers feel this is an easy task and are up for the challenge. But have you ever heard of :

  • Lot and Land Disclosures
  • Lilly Soil
  • Soil Analysis
  • Septic Certifications
  • Contingencies
  • HOFFA Fee's
  • Deed Restricted Areas

These are just to name a few. To condense this post but give you the most valuable information let me explain the purchase of a lot and what should be done :

  1. The first thing that should always be completed when the thought occurs to purchase a lot or any tract of land is to call a Real Estate Professional. A Real Estate Professional will be able to determine the lands worth ensuring that a particular piece of land is actually worth what you plan to offer. There is a difference between what you, a seller and what comparable properties show as " worth ".We have the tools the compare the value to other similar properties. When in appraisal is in order. Keep in mind we are NOT appraisers. We are simply comparing other similar properties and advising you accordingly.
  2. Second,if this is a deed restricted area like Fairfield Glade you should be informed of all HOFFA and/or POA dues. In many cases the monthly or yearly dues differs between a vacant piece of land rather than a piece of land being used as a primary residence. In Fairfield Glade for example POA and/or HOFFA Fee's include amenities like golf, fishing, indoor and outdoor swimming pools. However, even though Golf is an amenity it will require payment prior to entering the course although it will be at a reduced rate.  Many deed restricted areas/subdivisions have restrictions. You should know of these restrictions and receive adequate copies for your records. If you are expecting to build a utility shed for example having a copy of the restrictions will ensure that the shed can be built or what the requirements are. Knowing is better than building only to have to tare it down if you didn't know.
  3. The third and most important step(s) while submitting an offer to purchase is to ensure that the size and location of the lot will hold a septic ( if applicable where there is no city water/sewer ). In most cases here in Crossville there is city water but no sewer. Without sewer you need a septic tank. The first step would be to call our local soil analysis expert. You will need to go to the property and show a location of where you " think " your home will be built and where the septic will be placed. At this time the expert will probe the soil and determine if there is plentiful lily soil. Here in Crossville on the Cumberland Plateau you should always keep in mind that we are on a mountain with a lot of rock. This is why the soil tests are so important. If our expert determines the soil is viable he will draw a graph. This graph will show the position of the septic. BUT, it does not stop there. To ensure you can build the size home you are requiring that graph will then need to go to our local Environmental Office. Environmental will then go to your potential property with the graph and determine if that specific area will hold a septic large enough for either a 1, 2 , 3+ bedroom home. The size of the lot, the location, gullies, cul-de-sac's, easements all play an important role in determining the size of a septic. Now, don't be fooled. Although this may seem like a fairly easy process there have been many occasions where : you could put a septic on the lot but not a home ( there was not enough room or there was a water source like a creek ).
  4. Often in the State of Tennessee Land/Lot Disclosures are not used in Deed Restriced areas.You should know when they are used and when they are not. Due Diligence or doing your homework will inform you if there are any known encroachments, county maintained easements, water sources, flood zones, mineral rights and timber rights to name a few associated with the property you potentially would like to purchase.

Contingencies- Contingencies placed in a Offer to Purchase allow you the potential buyer to negate or withdraw the contract based on provisions you have included. For Example :

  • If you want the soil to be viable for a septic tank in order to purchase and it is not than you would not be required to purchase the property based on expert opinion that it will not hold a septic.
  • If you require a 3 bedroom to be built on your potential purchase and it will only certify for a 2 bedroom you would not be required to purchase the lot.      
  • If you expect mineral and/or timber rights to the property at purchase and they belong to someone else, you would not be required to purchase the lot/land.

Other familiar contingencies :

  • Contingent on appraisal.
  • Contingent on reasonable financing
  • Contingent on copies of restrictions

Other contingencies can be outlined at the discretion of your Real Estate Agent and your needs. Contingencies are important in allowing you the potential buyer to gain the necessary facts enabling you to make an informed decision.

I cannot stress enough the importance of working with a Real Estate Professional to protect your best interest. It is important to know your rights and to be informed of them. Licensed Professionals know these because we are trained to know. Most independant sellers are not aware of Disclosures, Tennessee Real Estate Laws and other therefor they cannot protect your rights. It is important to have someone who knows on your side.

For more information on Lot and Land sales in Tennessee please contact Melissa Grant, Consumer Advocate, Licensed Realtor(r) in the state of Tennessee.

Crossville TN Real Estate

Mobile : 757-694-7013  Email : 

Website :

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” ― Helen Keller




Comment balloon 6 commentsMelissa Grant • February 16 2009 08:50AM


Oh Boy, I hate getting calls like that!  Buying land or a home is so emotional, tied into dreams, and consumers really need a non biased opinion in there!  Great post!

Posted by Krista Fuchs, Chester County Realtor - (484) 459-8025 - Home Buying and Selling (Prudential Fox & Roach) over 10 years ago

Krista - You are so correct. I have lost count on how many calls I have received in reference to the purchase of a piece of property gone totally wrong. Some things really are to be left to professionals.

Posted by Melissa Grant, The Law of Attraction In Life & Business (A Serendipity World) over 10 years ago

All very good reasons it should be a no brainer that you need your own agent.

Posted by Larry Story, Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate (Total Care Realty) over 10 years ago

Melissa, How sad this happened to these people.  I would never know about purchasing land, it is so complex.  Of course you need a professional.  I do hope consumers see this, you don't know who you may have helped with this wonderful blog.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 10 years ago

I couldn't agree with Carole more - great information, Melissa, that really is priceless. This could save someone not only money, but stress and heartache in the future.

Posted by Debbie DiFonzo, Lebanon MO and Buffalo Missouri Real Estate (Debbie DiFonzo - United Country VIP Realty, SW Missouri) over 10 years ago

Wow, Melissa - this is a well-written, passionate and thoughtful post!  Your expertise in land deals is evident.  As someone who works within the realm of residential, I tend to defer commercial or land deals to experts in development issues.

Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago

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