Making A Life Changing Decision

Wednesday Jan 1, 2014

Managing Money and Wildlife for the Future

If you are like me and your family always comes before anything else in your life, then I hope you are able to take something useful from this article. I am like many fellow outdoorsman in that I have had a burning desire ever since I was a young man to own, manage, and hunt land that was all mine.

After years of hard work and determination, my dream of land ownership was realized as I was able to piece together a property that I could manage and hunt as I saw fit. As a Legacy Land Company Land Specialist, I am fortunate to assist others in realizing their dream of land ownership, using the lessons I learned years ago while buying my first piece of property. Land ownership isn’t something to be rushed into; it takes time and patience to make a sound and rational decision that can and will change your life forever. Let’s take a look at the process I recommend all my clients take when making a life changing decision to purchase recreational property.

Preparation to purchase

Step One:
The most crucial phase of this process is planning your budget and saving up for a nice down payment. I would suggest allocating no more 20 to 25 percent of your monthly income on a mortgage payment and have at least 25 to 30 percent on your down payment. This will greatly minimize risk and give your family confidence in your decision to buy.
Step Two:
Evaluate what your primary usage of the property will be. Is it hunting, investment, a weekend getaway or future retirement home site? It is very easy to combine several of these targets into one, but planning once again plays a major role in this decision process.
Step Three:
Research the land market in your area, and develop an understanding for what recreational ground is selling for. Will you need a property with some form of income to offset the carrying cost of the land? Many buyers look for properties that provide additional income in the form of agriculture, timber, mineral and government programs, but keep in mind that these options always come with an added cost to the buyer. Weight all of your options and make an informed decision.

You’ve found the perfect property and made the purchase…

Now is when the real work begins! One of the joys of land ownership is that you have the ability to plan and design the overall look and feel of the property to optimize its resources. For me and many others, this is my favorite aspect of land ownership and it can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Step One:
Build a good understanding of the deer movement, off site food sources, current water supplies, and cover the property enjoys, as well as hunting pressure from neighboring land owners. This process should take the better part of a year and it will require sacrificing one deer season with little or no land development. Make sure to purchase several good aerial photos of the property and document everything you learn. Trail cameras are a must for this process as they allow you to take inventory of the quantity and quality of wildlife found on the property.
Step Two:
You have got your years’ worth of information and you are ready to start moving forward in building your dream dirt. Now is a great time to contact your state biologist and work up a design to maximize the properties’ full potential. There are a several reasons why I like to include the state biologist in the layout process, with the main ones being their outstanding knowledge of native plant life and superior knowledge of how to balance an eco-system. I am always amazed by the sheer volume of high protein native food sources that most properties contain, many of which can be enhanced with the use of proper fertilization. By using these native browse as food sources, you can reduce the portion of the budget allocated to food sources and reallocate money towards other much needed improvements.
Step Three:
You will need to build a strong resource team of local people that can assist in completing land development projects such as dirt work, pond and lake construction, timber management improvement, food plot development, and road/ trail development for access. Local government offices such as USDA, NRCS, Division of Forest Resources, and Geological Survey Water Resources can assist you in finding the right contractor for the job.
Step Four:
Lay out your projects on a blank aerial and prioritize according to your budget and habitat needs. Keep in mind that these projects will take time and patience to complete, but the enjoyment and rewards are well worth the wait. With the completion of each project, you will find yourself growing more and more in touch with the land and the sense of pride in what you are building for yourself and your family will grow with each passing year.

Wrapping It Up

If your budget only allows you the ability to purchase twenty acres, then make it the best twenty acres anyone ever hunted on.  With the right amount of determination, perspiration, and planning, you can buy and develop your Legacy to enjoy with family and friends! If you have questions or would like help getting started on buying land contact me at trayburn@legacylandco.com .