Should You Buy a Home in the Suburbs or Buy a Home With Land?

You are a young couple intending to start a new family together, but you are unsure about where you should begin your journey. You have conducted your research on the benefits of both suburban neighborhoods and homes that have an abundance of land. But now you know that you are left with the decision. Should you buy a home in the Suburbs or buy a home with land? There are a lot of homes with land in Northwest Pensacola. But many people end up living in suburban neighborhoods instead. If you live in or around Pensacola, Florida and want to decide on which option is best for you. Here is a rundown of what to expect.

Real Estate Agents

If you opt to purchase a home with land, you will have to work very closely with a real estate agent. This agent will help you navigate through negotiations and close the deal on a home if you are satisfied. However, the agent must have extensive experience primarily negotiating land deals, with home deals being secondary. Expect there to be a lot of paperwork to fill out before you purchase land.

Many real estate agents specialize in finding you the right deal for a home specifically. There is less work for a real estate agent to do if you seek to live in the suburbs. You will be narrowing your search to only the home. You are going to be considering how it looks and whether or not everything is in order. If a suburban home has the right accommodations, such as room space, a functional garage, and a serviceable backyard, despite being isolated by other homes, then it could be the right home for you. Listen to the real estate agent when choosing a suburban home, but don’t be 100% reliant on the agent.

Finances and Value

Most likely you are on a tight budget, so there is only so much money to spend on a new home. Whether you buy a home with land or you acquire suburban property, be prepared to spend money.

Knowing where to look to spend that money is half the battle. If you love the suburban neighborhood feel of a place like Ensley. You could be spending as much as $315,000 for a quality home. On the flip side, if you intend to buy a home with land, you will notice the land itself isn’t always listed at too expensive of a price. The cheapest prices in Ensley to buy land range from $20,000 to $63,000.


We all appreciate friendly neighbors, but not everyone you will see in your dream neighborhood will be friendly. Sometimes it is good to speak to potential future neighbors. When you are looking for a new home to help get a feel for the area. Other times it is best to keep your moving plans to yourself. Finding the right neighbors will be a challenge if you target suburban neighborhoods. If handled incorrectly. It could be a nightmare if you buy a home with land.

When you move into a home with a lot of land, you will be moving into a territory that borders the next closest resident, your new neighbor. That resident may have gotten used to being surrounded by raw land for years until you showed up. That resident may be looking to gather the information he or she can use against you in a land dispute should you discuss moving plans with him or her.

Available Infrastructure

There is nothing wrong with being a pioneer and going “off-grid” in Northwest Pensacola, but how much are you willing to sacrifice in amenities? City road services and trash collection are examples of key amenities. You will lose these amenities the further out you live in a rural area. If you live in a suburban neighborhood, these amenities will be more readily available to you.

If you normally prefer to go to public amenities such as galleries, theatres, clubs and sporting events, neither the suburban neighborhood nor the single home with land will be able to replace the entertainment value that you would get from these amenities. However, you get much more time on your hands in return, and planning ahead, you can find ways to replace these entertainment options.

Water and Power Systems

When you buy a home with land, you will be responsible for making sure all its utility systems are up and running. Homeowners Associations take care of utilities for suburban properties, but out in the country you are on your own. Always make electricity your top priority for home utilities. If you don’t have a power source, get one established. Once you do that, establish an emergency backup power source. The most rural customers of electric companies are among the last to get their power restored in their communities.

If the rural property you just bought has a well, then that is good news. The bad news? Most likely there isn’t an active water source. Suburban residents readily have water waiting for them at the turn of a kitchen sink knob. Always have inspections performed on your home that has a well and septic system. Test your water for bacteria, sediment, nitrates, or chemicals. Ensure that the septic system is safe to use.

Homeowners Associations

One thing suburban neighborhood residents will have to tolerate is a Homeowners Association. In most cases HOAs are needed to maintain the land and property a resident occupies. There are rules and regulations put in place by HOAs that you will have to follow if you plan on living in a home they manage.

Maintaining property value is the main goal of HOAs, and when you search through online listings for suburban homes you will notice the best kept homes have the highest prices. This is in part due to sellers maintaining those homes according to HOA standards. For example, consider the difference between a Bellview listing for $355,000 on Marcus Pointe Boulevard, and one for $195,000 on Meade Drive.

One clear advantage to owning a home with land is not being directly tied to HOAs. In most cases, owning a house with acres of land surrounding it means that you are not subject to the bylaws of any HOA. You only have to abide by the laws of your local, county, and state governments regarding the property. You will also not be responsible for paying any HOA fees that they would otherwise issue, such as major repairs or upgrades.

Possibility of Loans

 You will not be able to leverage a land purchase with a bank as you would with a home purchase. Keep this in mind because there are more dynamics involved when you get a feel for the value of a house with land. Especially if you are into mortgages. There are a few different structures to choose from, and they vary between suburban homes and homes with acres of land.

You have much less room to negotiate any mortgage deals with land loans. As they are usually done on balloons of three to five years. The full balance must be paid off within that time frame, or the loan must be refinanced. If you are not confident that you can pay off a land loan within three to five years. Then it may not best not to proceed with a deal.

Here is an illustrated example. An investor purchases an apartment building and might be able to put down 30%, with the bank giving him or her 70%. A landowner will have to work harder to negotiate with lenders to give him or her 40 to 50% of the value. This also depends on the type of relationship the landowner has with the bank or other forms of collateral.


 Should you buy a home in the suburbs? Do you love the idea of owning a lot of land with a new home?  What are your preferences? It is best to know what would make you and your spouse the most comfortable as a young couple, and what gives your family the best chance to succeed. In Northwest Pensacola, you have many housing options. The most important thing is to know what your needs are and what a home can do to accommodate those needs.








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