Buying Land, 11 Things you need to know

If you have ever dreamed of building your dream home on the perfect piece of property, then you may have toyed with the idea of buying land. However, if you buy land without doing your homework you may encounter more frustrations than foundation.  Before you write an offer, consider the following:

1)      LOCATION –Land itself, even without a home on it, can be a good investment.   The challenge is determining the true value by evaluating potential use and demand.  Location is paramount in determining value.  Tiny little houses in the middle of bustling downtown neighborhoods can sell for top dollar due to the supply of land in that area.

2)      ZONING LAWS – The value of land is impacted by zoning laws which determine what you can and can’t do with the land.  You may be able to check property zoning online. Pay attention to the county’s long term land use plans and scheduled road additions as these are indicators of future growth.

3)      HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS – Is the lot in a subdivision governed by a homeowners association?  If so, check the rules of what can be built and if there are restrictions regarding footprint, size, or style.

4)      COSTS TO DEVELOP LAND – There are costs to consider when developing land including survey costs and title insurance.

5)      ORDINANCES AND COVENANTS – Most land is sold in subdivisions which may have restrictions. There may be deed restrictions which are private agreements created between the owner and the buyer of the property.  You may also have ordinances which you must adhere from the local city.

6)      UTILITIES – There will be costs to bring utilities to the property including electricity, phone lines, water and sewer (if available).  If public water and sewer is not available, you will need permits for drilling a well and for installing a septic system.

7)      ROAD ACCESS – This is one aspect that is easy to overlook.  The gravel path the property came with may not work as a permanent driveway driving the costs up. Verify the road you see can indeed be developed as a permanent path.

8)      EASEMENTS –Be aware of every easement on the property and understand what the easements mean for your use and enjoyment of the property.

9)      SURVEYS – A survey will show you exactly where the property boundaries are as well as elevation possibilities for building. Never rely on an old survey – it may be outdated.

10)   FLOODING – You will need to know this to determine whether or not flood insurance is needed.

11)   PERMITS – Unless you plan on camping in a tent on your new piece of land, make sure you secure a permit for all improvements.


Once you know what you are doing it is easy to look for red flags when looking for land, saving you time and money. Ready to learn more? Give me us call at 509-947-5670.

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