8 Tips For Buying Plot Of Land
So you’ve decided you want to build your next home from the ground up. We’ve got eight “must-dos” before you buy that residential lot. These are the highlights; we’ve explored each point more thoroughly in a series of posts as noted in the links.
- Decide your community style: Just like buying an existing home, think up front about the kind of community and location that suits your style. Whether you want sidewalks, bike paths, schools and shopping within walking distance or the nearest neighbor a mile away, no other path to home ownership gives you as many options as buying your own lot.
- Choosing a Builder: Buying your own building lot also means choosing your own builder…usually. Check out potential builders as much as you check out the property. Do you want a completely customized home, the convenience of choosing a stock plan or the choice of a builder in a traditional development? Or does your perfect lot come with a particular builder already attached?
- Check out the lot from satellite to street: This is really an area where technology is your best friend. From the satellite photos of properties you find right here on LotNetwork.com to Google Street View, you can see what’s two miles away as easily as what’s next door. That beautiful vacant lot for sale might be bargain priced because there’s a pig farm just down the road.
- Double check property conditions: You absolutely, positively have to do a site visit and walk the entire property. Putting the patio right there will be perfect for watching the sunset…if it’s not in a wetland. That “gentle stream” may become a raging river in a heavy rain. A big dead area with no grass might mean hidden environmental problems. Things can happen: We learned a $100,000 lesson when a seller failed to disclose the hidden oil tank on a property we bought for development.
- Confirm the status of infrastructure and utilities: Make sure there are no hidden fees for connecting to water and sewer. If you will need to install a septic system, make sure it passes a “perc test”, which measures the absorption rate of the soil where a proposed septic system will be installed. Is cable television and high-speed Internet a must? Do your homework.
- Review roads and access: You’re generally going to want land that fronts directly on or has vehicular access to a public road. If it doesn’t, make sure the proper easements and rights of way are in place.
- Research restrictions and site limitations: Check a property’s use restrictions to ensure you can use the site and build the home the way you want. Restrictive covenants, HOA rules, historic districts and environmental conditions like wetlands all affect your use of a property. Check out restrictions related to front and side setbacks – we know a guy who had to seek a special exemption from the county because the builder put the house 18 inches too close to the road.
- Work with professionals: Your brother-in-law is a great guy, but unless he’s also a buyer’s real estate agent or broker with experience and expertise in representing BUYERS of residential property don’t completely trust his advice. If possible, have your builder or architect involved before committing to a lot or land.
There are some comprehensive articles in this series that are full of good information. You may want to bookmark what you find most helpful, so you can come back later and use the information as a resource.
You also may want to check out our page dedicated to Tips & Resources for Buying Lots & Land, which gathers many different helpful resources in one place for lot and land buyers and provides tips about using LotNetwork.com to help you in your search.
And be sure to share these articles with your friends too. Get the word out by social media, email, etc. (there’s a social sharing bar on the edge of this page) so that you can help other people who are searching for land for a new home.