By timestaff
August 6, 2013

Should I invest in undeveloped beach property? The lots have dropped in price considerably. — Mike Mannion, Salisbury, Md.

Test the waters first. A beach lot may have a lower cost of entry than an investment in a beach home, says Gary Eldred, author of Investing in Real Estate, but your risk is much greater.

At issue: conditions that limit what you or anyone else can do with the land, such as access to utilities and zoning that restricts the size and location of any structures.

Related: Half of Millennials Will Ask Mom and Dad to Help Them Buy a Home

You’ll need a good agent and appraiser to determine whether that price drop signifies a deal or simply reflects news that has lowered the land’s value.

A neighbor might have an easement on the property, for example, that restricts the area you could build upon, says Sheila Dodson, executive director of the Coastal Association of Realtors.

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