5 Things to Know About Buying Land

view of mountains across a field

With a tightening real estate market and fewer homes being offered for sale, many buyers are considering the option of buying land and building a home. While you may already know what to look for in an existing home, such as the septic, water quality, there are different things to keep in mind when evaluating various lots,.

5 Things to Consider When Buying Land

1. Is the lot buildable?

If the lot is not serviced by town water and sewer, you will need a soil test done by a qualified soils scientist to confirm that the lot can support a septic system. You should also make sure to check with the code enforcement officer for the town. This will confirm that the lot is buildable, what is required to obtain a building permit from the town and to help find out if there are any red flags that you should be concerned with.

2. Does the lot have challenging topography, potential wetlands or buffers that you need to investigate further?

Do your due diligence and don’t be taken by surprise by potential unexpected site work costs. An attractively priced lot might seem like a great deal on the face of it, when in reality it could cost thousands more to build on than you anticipated. A reputable site plan engineering company can help you navigate uncertain waters when buying land.

3. Is there a survey and have the property lines been identified?

Most subdivision lots have recorded surveys but many other parcels might have age-old descriptions that are vague, in which case you might want to consider a survey. Even if there is a recorded survey, consider having a surveyor flag the lot lines before buying land so that you know where the boundaries are. It will be money well spent to ensure that you don’t have any surprises.

4. Are there any restrictions?

Review the deed carefully and look for references to any recorded restrictions, easements, covenants, rights of way and recorded plans. If there are references made in the deed to other pertinent recordings, make sure to obtain copies and review thoroughly. If you have questions or concerns, seek the advice of a real estate attorney.

5. Is there a driveway in place and utilities nearby?

For lots accessed from a state road, you may need to obtain a driveway permit from the state. Also consider the length of the driveway and any tricky areas that might add to the cost. I often recommend that buyers meet with a local contractor to get input for site improvement costs. Where are the utilities and will there be added costs to bring power to the building site? The local electrical company and a contractor can assist with evaluating those costs.

Let’s not forget the most invaluable tool when considering buying land, and that is the guidance that an experienced real estate agent can provide. Not sure where to start? Give us a call today and we will get you pointed in the right direction and help you find your perfect vacation home site.

About the Author
Margie Camden

After college, I lived out of state for a few years, knowing that I wanted to make my way back to Maine. I was drawn to Bethel not only because of the beautiful surroundings, but also the welcoming nature of the people who live here, the quaintness of Bethel Village and the great energy that goes along with having Sunday River Ski Resort in the midst of it all. 

I having been working in the area as a real estate agent for over 20 years, having previously co-owned a local real estate agency, later happily settling in to work at Sunday River Real Estate over 10 years ago. I am a dedicated professional, always striving to hold myself to the highest possible standards to ensure that my clients trust that I will work hard to find them that special property and that the buying and selling process goes smoothly. I value the relationships that I have developed in my real estate career and in my book, there is nothing more rewarding than a happy client. I am also a member of the National and State of Maine Board of Realtors and I hold a professional certification as a Resort and Second Home Property Specialist. 

The ski industry and Sunday River Ski Resort move at a fast pace. Working with Sunday River Real Estate affords our clients the most up to date information about the resort. For expert knowledge of resort changes and real estate developments, please join our newsletter. I look forward to working with you.