Purchasing Land to Build A Home: Mistakes to Avoid
You’ve lived in the city long enough and are ready for a change. You have your finances in order, and you’re ready to invest in your new home. This article outlines the most important practices when buying vacant land for sale.
You don’t want just any old house, though. You want your home to be brand new and custom-built on land that has yet to be developed. You want to be present for and in control of the entire process.
You want to purchase a vacant lot for your home.
Before you do that, there are some things you need to avoid. You need to do your research, and you can start here.
Remember to Check Zoning Codes
Just because you see vacant land for sale on the side of the road doesn’t mean it’s available for your new home construction. Zoning laws are usually strictly enforced, so certain codes will be required for the kind of lot you’ll want to buy.
If the lot is zoned to be for commercial use only, or for whatever other reason it won’t be available for residential building construction, there’s really not much you can do about it other than move on. For the state of New York, there are certain property type classifications you’ll have to consider before you buy the lot.
Visit your local assessor’s office to ensure you’re buying a properly zoned lot.
Avoid Talking to the Neighbors
Your knee-jerk reaction when considering vacant land for sale might be to inquire of the neighbors about the area – but don’t do it!
Sometimes long-standing residents are sentimental about the beautiful scenery provided by the lot next door. They might not want to see a new house taking away from the scenery of natural landscape. They definitely might not want to bear witness to the noise and ugliness of a long construction project like building your new home.
Whatever they may actually think about you purchasing the lot next to them, it’s happened before that neighbors attempt to sway potential buyers out of their purchase. Talking to them might result in you deciding to look elsewhere, simply because they presented more flaws than qualities of that lot.
Don’t be fooled, though. Purchasing any vacant lot will have some quirks to take care of, but it might still be worth it for you in the long run. There are other, more reliable ways of learning whether or not that is the case.
If you want to build a friendly relationship with your neighbors eventually, start building your home first so they have to get used to the idea of you being around.
Don’t Forget About Utilities and Access
Check into the legal availability of access to public utilities. Sometimes everything checks out with vacant land for sale except for access to water. That would be inconvenient, to say the least!
That’s why it’s best to research such access beforehand. You also might have to negotiate with surrounding landowners if you need easements on their property during construction. An easement is contracted access to land for the purpose of transport or other necessary arrangements, through the agreement of the landowner.
Be as friendly as possible for your best chance of being granted the easements you need.
Don’t Buy Vacant Land for Sale Without Checking the Surrounding Area
If you are looking into vacant land for sale, odds are that you are doing so in order to have an escape from the life of a bustling city. You are probably seeking fresh air and open skies.
Be careful, though, because there are still some issues that could be present surrounding the lot you are interested in purchasing. When you are prepared to invest your finances, you find a lot that has the proper zoning code, and you have made sure that it has access to the necessary utilities and transportation, take a wide lap around the property.
Look for things that might contribute to noise pollution – yes, even though it’s outside of city limits. You might find some surprises such as nearby railroad tracks or a shooting range that’s far enough away for your safety but close enough to hear it.
There might also be plans for commercial or government development close by that would affect either your view or your peace and quiet. Though there’s no way you will be able to predict all of the future possible development, but doing as much research as you can now prevent such surprises in the future.
Make Sure to Obtain a Survey
Though you probably won’t be able to get the lot surveyed until you have at least a title agreement (which you would receive after purchasing the lot from the seller), it’s in your best interest to get a professional survey done as soon as possible.
A survey will show you exactly where the property lines are. If you make the mistake of avoiding a survey, there are chances you could be missing out on some of your own property due to your lack of diligence.
It will also show you if there are any interesting surprises in store for your land, such as accidental encroachment of your neighbors onto the property. Such possible circumstances make obtaining a survey legally advisable, perhaps from the commonly respected American Land Title Association.
The survey will also disclose any existing easements on your property. It would be good to know if strangers are allowed to come and go through your land as they please!
Trust Your Architect
You’ll want to find a knowledgeable architect before you even begin the process of choosing the vacant land for sale on which you want to build.
The guidance he or she can provide could be the difference between making the right and wrong decision when it comes to picking your lot. Architects are able to tell you the structural possibilities of the land you want to purchase.
If you’re considering building a custom home and have questions about the land you are considering purchasing, reach out to us today for expert advice on purchasing the lot for the home to be built upon. We will be with you every step of the way, up until you first walk into your brand new home.
If you found this article helpful, you might also enjoy our recent article for more tips on choosing a custom home builder – this will help you in the next important step of the process.