How to Review a Land Deal in 5 Minutes or Less

By Jill DeWit

The ability to quickly review a potential deal is not only a skill but a necessary time saver for my business. Potential acquisition properties are submitted daily from our (current and past years of) offers mailed, as well as Land Academy Deal Funding.

If you are like most new investors, you are a “one-person-show” and you need to be able to quickly make initial decisions about properties when contacted by property owners.

Hopefully you did exactly as we demonstrated, and you sent out no less than 1,500 offers at a time. Now you find yourself fielding calls, emails, and letters from multiple owners and you understand that your, and their time, is valuable.

You need to be able to make quick decisions to either:

A) “pass” on deal and not waste anyone’s time on more communication or

B) tentatively “accept” deal for further review.

What are the steps I take?

  1. Visual view of parcel with confirmation of details. This can all be done via ParcelFact.com. (I keep Parcel Fact open and running on my computer.) I can quickly input state, county, and APN to see full outline of the property (whether 4 points or 19), confirm size, ownership details, zoning, and much more. I can often make a quick decision based on the visual and access alone from this simple step. TIME: ONE MINUTE
  2. More in depth visual for attributes or usability issues. If the parcel met my initial acquisition criteria and all details passed my tests, then I move on to get a better view via Google Earth Pro. (Free and the best version is “Pro”. Again, always running on my computer.) I copy the top line if the GPS coordinates from Parcel Fact and plug into Google Earth Pro to zoom in/out and see what is going on around the property. Does the property appear buildable or are there steep slopes to research? Do I see potential flood issues? Are there any access issues? Are there buildings or ranches or other structures around to show me what is possible in the area? Can I spot power lines/utilities? How far is the nearest city? Often, I can drop a “man” on the map and see the property at eye level to get a feel for what it is like to be standing next to the actual property.

Based on the outcome of step two, I will either “pass” at this point or continue and make notes of any findings that need further research. TIME: TWO MINUTES

  • Brief online pricing check. Finally, I will use an online resource such as Realtor.com to review current “for sale” property to make sure my offer price is valid, DOM are not too high, and how many available properties exist. I use the closest large city, then major roads from prior maps, to plug in to selling site and zero in to the general area of the property. I toggle between land for sale and houses for sale (possible infill lot?), to gauge the validity of my offer price. I use the map function and click on a variety of properties and compare price per acre and DOM. TIME: TWO MINUTES

This is not meant to make the final decision but give you insight on how to quickly access properties for further due diligence. As you get to know an area and develop this skill, you will find yourself swiftly working down your acquisition list and reviewing many properties in minutes – so you can spend the real time on the ones that matter.