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Real Estate Tips

5 Things to Know about Buying Vacant Land

Posted on Thursday, August 3, 2017
Does the vacant land you want live up to your dreams for its future?

Have you been dreaming of a property of your own? Sometimes, finding the perfect house is not possible, and you need to build it yourself. Developing a piece of vacant land could be the solution for you, but do you know everything that you need to know before you purchase land for your dream home?

1. What Can You Build on That Land?

Before you buy, you need to know whether it is actually possible to build the house you want on the lot that interests you. First, take a look at the zoning restrictions. Can you build a single family residence there? If you are thinking of adding a second home or a bed and breakfast, will this be possible? Your dreams might include having horses or a large workshop. Make sure that those dreams are possible before you invest.

2. Where Can You Build on That Land?

Where you can build is just as important as what you can build. Investigate required building setbacks as well. After factoring in the setbacks, you may discover that some properties are simply too small or too oddly shaped for your purposes. Make sure that you can build the home you want in the place where you want it, and save yourself months of wrangling and making accommodations.

Make sure that zoning and setbacks allow you to build your dream home.

3. Can You Actually Build Your Dream Home on That Land?

There is a difference between owning land and owning land where you can build a home. Before you buy, take a close look at the real potential of the land you are buying. Getting all of the logistics sorted out before you buy a property will save you from serious headaches later on. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How easy is it to arrange water and sewer lines?
  • If you cannot arrange for municipal water, can you have a well or have water trucked in?
  • Can you add yourself to the electrical grid or easily go off-grid?
  • Will the gas company service your area?
  • Can you connect to phone lines or easily get cell service?
  • Are there roads into the property?

4. Are There Hazards on or Near the Property?

Surprise! No matter whether you are buying a home or vacant land, you need to understand the hazards that come with the property. Have the neighbors or former owners been using the property as a place to dump waste? Has the property remained undeveloped because it is hazardous in some way? For example, you could find that a visually-ideal property is less than ideal because it has:

  • Sinkholes
  • Landslide danger
  • Flood risk
  • Wetlands
  • Contaminated water
  • Contaminated soil
  • Air quality concerns

Make sure that your beautiful property will stay beautiful and easy to maintain over time by looking at reports about the community and the property and carefully inspecting the property and the neighborhood before you buy.

5. Do You Love the Community?

When you buy a home, you buy it in a community. When you build a home, you build in that community. No matter what, you need to fall in love with the land and with the community and its amenities. Even if you are planning to live far off the beaten path, you will likely access a town for medical care and the occasional grocery shopping trip. If you are building on a lot closer to town, you will need to treat your land purchase just as you would treat a home purchase, looking at transportation, entertainment, educational opportunities, and other amenities. Do not look at your land purchase as simply a land purchase; look at it as your future home, and imagine living there, in all of its complexity.

At Open For Homes, we are here to be a resource for you. Take a look at the blog at Open For Homes and see how our advice can help you find the right home for you and your family.