Those who have experienced looking for a house to buy surely know the challenges of searching for one. Buying a home requires you to browse through online listing sites, inspect “hot” neighborhoods, and participate in open houses in the hopes of finding the property that suits your preference. With all these, it still isn’t sure that you find the property that you wanted.
So, as an alternative, folks who want to purchase real estate properties look for vacant land instead of an already built home. The primary advantage of buying land is that you can plan and supervise the property’s design. Moreover, there are many vacant lots available nowadays, so it won’t be hard for you to search for one.
However, there are considerations that you have to keep in mind when purchasing vacant land. You better read this list of DOs and DON’Ts to ensure that you find the ideal vacant land that you need.
DO Hire an Agent Who Have Expertise in the Land Market
The same with purchasing a house, buying a vacant lot also requires you to hire a real estate professional who has the experience and sufficient knowledge in land deals. It’s crucial to work with this kind of agent to boost your chances of buying a land property that’s best for you.
Your agent should provide you with the right information about the hottest land properties in a particular area. He/she should also help you understand the process of the land purchase and how the land market works.
DO Prepare Your Finances
Before you visit a land property that piques your interest, you should set your finances in order first. Since it’s hard to obtain a loan that will provide funds to purchase vacant land, it’s likely that you need to tap your savings for the land purchase.
In such a case, make sure that you determine the price of the property and secure the amount of cash for it. Land sellers will feel more confident if you can provide proof of funds when you’re offering to buy the land in cash.
DO Consider the Home Values in the Area
If you’re planning to build a house in vacant land, you should ensure that you build one that suits the values of the houses in the neighborhood. It’s difficult to get a construction loan if the price of the land and the construction cost exceeds the average property values in the area.
Moreover, it’s not a smart move to build a house that costs $1,000,000 in a neighborhood that has properties selling at $500,000. This can lower the value of your house because of the low average home value in the neighborhood.
DO Consider Road Access and Utilities
Utilities such as electricity and water are not always present in vacant lots. You have to consider utilities because the cost of installing them can significantly affect your budget, especially if the land is located in an undeveloped area.
It’s also important to check the road access to the property. If the land is landlocked, you should talk with neighboring properties for guaranteed access through a private road. If you buy land located in an urban area, road access is rarely an issue because you can typically access your property via public roads.
DON’T Forget to Conduct a Survey on the Property
Make sure that you figure out the boundaries of the land you’re buying, especially if the property is located in an area where neighboring properties are in close proximity. Conducting a survey is also crucial if the land has been vacant for a long time to ensure that neighbors are not encroaching on the property.
DON’T Fail to Have Environmental Tests on the Land
A vacant lot should be environmentally tested to make sure that it’s suitable for constructing structures on it. For instance, you should conduct tests to figure out if the soil is contaminated by toxic chemicals. It’s a no-no to construct a house on chemically contaminated land because it’s risky to human health.
You should also determine if the property is prone to flooding. Hire a professional for you to find it out because it’s a primary concern when purchasing land.
DON’T Expect You Can Rezone a Land Property
Local governing bodies impose ordinances, codes, and zones that limit how you can use the property. There are different types of property zoning, namely: residential zoning, rural zoning, commercial zoning, agricultural zoning, industrial zoning, aesthetic zoning, and historic zoning.
For instance, you can’t build a family home or apartment in a zone intended for industrial buildings. There are also land properties that are not meant for further development. If you want to rezone the property, you have to know that the application process for it is not easy, and there’s a high chance that your application will get denied.
Instead of having the property rezoned, just try to build something that fits the existing zoning limits. Look for vacant land where you can construct a house that you want, but ensure that you understand the limits before finalizing your plan.
Building structure/s on vacant land also require building permits and proper site plan approval, and these may take some time to obtain. So, you also need to consider those permits, even if you don’t have a problem with the zoning.
DON’T Discuss With the Neighbors About Your Plans of Buying the Land
When buying an already built home, it’s common to ask people around the area about the property. But, if you’re buying vacant land in which you’re planning to construct a home, discussing your plans with the owners of neighboring properties may not be a good idea.
There are neighbors who might oppose your plans because some of them are used to benefit from having vacant land near their properties. Realizing your plans on the property might change the status quo they’ve been enjoying for some time.
So, that’s the list of DOs and DON’Ts you have to consider when buying vacant land. You should keep them in mind to ensure that you find the property that’s right for you and avoid the problems that newbie land buyers commonly encounter.