Tips for your land purchase.

1. Do you have a topographic survey or grading plan?A topography survey shows elevation changes within the site.   This is used to help you determine a location for a building pad and site access. The survey may also show existing utilities, site features, and trees.  This will help you evaluate what it will take to develop the site. Grading can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so the less you have to do, the more you can spend on your home. 

2. Are there any Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s)?CC&R’s are used by many “common interest” developments to regulate the use, appearance, and maintenance of property. CC&R’s often restrict what the property owner can do on the property.  Such as mandating minimum square feet of a home and the aesthetics of the home.

3. Is the title to the property clear (free of liens, easements, and other encumbrances)?Property with a clear title is “worry-free” and far more attractive than property which is encumbered by liens, taxes, or easements. A title company will help you determine if the title is clear.

4. What is the property’s zoning?Every property is assigned a zoning type. The lot may be zoned for residential, commercial  or multi-use.  If it’s residential, you may be limited to a single home or be allowed to build multiple units such as apartments.  Zoning will also tell you other restrictions like how tall a building may be on the lot and how close you can build to the property line.

5. Do you have a soils report?In certain areas, the local authority of building permits may require a soils report.  The soils report gives you an understanding of earth conditions and will guide a structural engineer in designing a home’s foundation.

6. What utilities are available in the area?Providing utility infrastructure to a site is very expensive.  You need to know what utilities are existing or what you need to provide.  Utilities include: Power, Telecom, Gas, Water, and Sewer.

7. What are the Property Taxes?Understanding the annual taxes and potential exemptions is essential to understand long term cost.  There are many items to consider, but just remember ….. Land,  they are not making any more of it!