Acquiring acreage: Demystifying the dream of land ownership

Land in Hamilton County is both plentiful and affordable. (Photo: Todd Henon Properties)

Authored By todd

Currently available: 140-acre farm in Chickamauga, Georgia, listed by Todd Henon.u00a0(Photo: Todd Henon Properties)

Owning a piece of land is a fundamental American ideal. Many of the country’s first settlers came here with that dream in mind. As the eastern United States started to become “crowded” in the latter part of the 1800s, pioneers headed west to appropriate a slice of land to call their own. Even today’s American dream, for most, includes at least a little parcel of acreage to cultivate.

For many folks in our tri-state region, that dream is bigger than “a little” piece of land-yet they don’t realize just how obtainable their dream is.

Friendly financing climate for land
Many people are surprised to learn that you can mortgage land just like you can a traditional home. Today’s current lending landscape is just right for people who want to own land and need to mortgage it. Interest rates are low (3.5-4.5 percent) and lenders are aggressive, which allows room to negotiate a favorable rate.

However, it’s important to factor into your planning that land loans typically require a down payment of about 25 percent, with a shorter financing period than with a traditional home.

Land can provide income and enjoyment now, as you plan for the future
Even younger people who dream of building their own places someday may want to look into buying land now rather than later because of the income streams land can provide in the interim. For example, buying a wooded parcel may provide you the opportunity to harvest timber that can be sold at market price. Another strategy is to invest in a piece of land larger than what you need, giving you the option to split it up and sell off a portion to help recoup some of the original price.

In the meantime, before you build, the land can be used for recreation, get-togethers, parties, even a tiny home or mobile home to live in or rent.

I’ve found in my close to 20 years in real estate that owning land is a box that a lot of folks want to check in their lifetimes. There’s something very primal about owning a piece of land. Many find value in the organic, fundamental joy of “working” the land, hunting on it or simply being a good caretaker of God’s unique creation on the Cumberland Plateau.

Remember that, just like with a residential home, there are ongoing costs associated with owning a piece of land, such as property taxes and maintenance. (Photo: Todd Henon Properties)

Location, location, location
Another common misconception is that a land purchase means moving far away from Chattanooga city limits, or even Hamilton County. That’s just not true. Although the lots are smaller and the prices higher inside the city limits, the options are still there.

There is currently a large supply of land on the market in Hamilton County within 30 minutes of downtown Chattanooga.

Thinking outside the box
Acreage, more often than not, returns its value. Purchased at the right price, land appreciates, and sometimes very quickly. “Purchased right” means that you are smart about the dollars, zoning, soil quality, conservation regulations and future development around your acreage. It’s also important to think through how to maximize the land, including best home sites, pond and pasture development, potential subdividing, and income generation. Enlisting the help of not just a Realtor, but a land specialist Realtor, can be critical in guiding your decisions.

Keep in mind that if you see something you like, you can even approach landowners about buying acreage that isn’t technically for sale. Again, working with a land specialist enables you to bring a level of knowledge and sophistication to the process, and helps protect your interests.

In the words of a philosopher
My team and I find that folks are amazed at the acreage opportunities and variety of price points within easy driving distance of Chattanooga. There’s more out there than you likely suspect that’s both attractive and affordable to people of all ages, in all seasons of life. As a land specialist and lifelong outdoorsman, I agree professionally-and personally-with the simple wisdom of Mark Twain, who said, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”

Todd Henon

Todd Henon Properties is a top Chattanooga-based real estate team serving Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama since 2000. Specializing in homes, land, farms and estates, Todd’s seasoned neighborhood and acreage specialists are known for their expertise in the sale and purchase of traditional and unique properties. Todd’s credentials as a general contractor and visionary land consultant give his clients a daily edge. A lifelong Chattanoogan and avid outdoorsman, no one knows the market better or loves the region more than Todd and his innovative team of respected agents. Headquartered at Keller Williams Realty-Greater Downtown Chattanooga (each office is independently owned and operated), the Todd Henon Properties’ team invites you to search for your next home or investment move at

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