What to look for when buying land in the Wisconsin Northwoods

April 9, 2008

~ written by Nancy Kuczmarski  Rhinelander Office 

It seems like it’s everyone’s dream to own a ‘wild’ 40 in Northern Wisconsin.  Demand for 40’s remains strong, especially since thousands of acres of what was once paper company land has been sold off to private individuals.  These parcels used to be open to the public for hunting and other recreational activities.  There’s lot of questions you need to ask yourself and the following are just a few:

  • What do I want to use the land for?  Zoning might be very important.
  • Do I plan on building on the property?  Road access & access to power are important considerations.  Will the soils perc for a conventional septic system? 
  • Does the owner know where all the property lines are or are they just approximate locations?
  • Are there any easements to or through the property?
  • Is the road servicing the property a Town, County or State Road or is it a private road?  Road maintenance can be costly.
  • Is the property in Managed Forest Crop?  Very important to check on this as you may be restricted for future development unless you pay a hefty tax.
  • Is there marketable timber on the property? 
  • Who owns neighboring property?  Noise & odor could be a problem. 
  • Does anyone have permission to use the property?  Seller may have given someone hunting rights.  This is becoming more common.
  • Are there any environmental hazards associated with the property?  Be aware of abandoned wells, buried tanks and old dumps/landfills.

Bottom line….It’s best not to go it alone when considering a vacant acreage purchase.  Hire a REALTOR® who understands ‘Vacant Land’ so you make an informed Buying decision. Your REALTOR® should be willing to walk the property with you and answer these questions.   It might not be a bad idea to look for taxidermist art in their office.  This is usually a pretty good sign they know about vacant land!

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