Wise advice: how to buy land and maximize your investment

A guide to steer you away from potentially costly surprises when buying land.

Wise advice: how to buy land and maximize your investment

Thinking about buying that perfect piece of land to build your dream house? The one far away from the city, filled with acres of towering trees and a meandering creek. Or maybe you’re looking for that ideal commercial spot to run your business. Whatever your plan, there is lots to think about when buying land.

Zoning

Is the land you’re interested in intended for residential or commercial use? Determining the zoning requirements will be one of the first steps in the process. This information should be readily available, but keep in mind you’ll want to know the zoning designations and future plans of surrounding property. You want to make sure that a big box home improvement store isn’t going to be part of the view from your front porch, right?

Road access and easements

If you’re purchasing land in an urban area, road access will likely not be an issue. But if you’ve fallen in love with a scenic spot out in the country, make absolutely sure that you have legal and transferrable access rights. You will also need to know who is responsible for road maintenance.

On a related note, you will need to make sure you have a recent survey with well-defined property boundaries and easements clearly marked. If an easement needs to be established, it’s wise to consult a real estate lawyer.

Utilities

When it comes to power and other utilities, it’s essential to know the availability and costs involved.

    • Will you have easy access to electricity, telephone and cable services?
    • Do you have the right to use that lovely creek that runs across your property?
    • Will you need to dig a well?
    • Can you hook up to a public sewer system or will you need to have a septic system installed?

These are all important questions to answer before buying. For example, if installing your own septic system, you will have to make sure there is adequate drainage away from the main water supply.

Permits

You should be able to buy the land, build your dream home and be done with it, right? If only it were that easy. You’re going to need permits for just about everything including zoning, construction, septic and well drilling.

Get professional advice to avoid pitfalls

Be sure to take advantage of the resources around you, including real estate agents and real estate lawyers. Good advice on buying land will go a long way to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible, and that you don't get hit with unexpected delays or expenses.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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