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.