What To Look For When Buying Land
Are there slopes, hills? What is the soil like? Not all soil is primed for building. Are there signs of sinkholes? Are there signs of saturation and flooding? Signs of water damage or permeation are a big thing to watch out for when buying land in Florida.
what to look for when buying land
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Proof of funds is also important when making a cash offer, as it helps the seller feel confident that you have access to the money you claim to, like a mortgage preapproval does when buying a house. If your cash is tied up in other investments, take it out prior to making an offer to avoid a sudden loss of funds from an unexpected disaster.
Once you understand the most ideal use for the land you're looking at, you can quickly determine whether it will fit your needs (or the needs of those you intend to sell the property to in the future).
The property's topography is one of the first things I look at when evaluating a vacant lot. Many places have irregular elevations, cliffs, mountains, valleys, ravines, and more. In many cases, the topography of the will can have a major impact on the usability of a property.
This isn't common for most land investors (because most people have no intention of using their property for purposes that don't jive with their surroundings). Even so, you should always ensure you understand the rules before buying a parcel of vacant land. This will help you avoid owning a property that requires maintenance you don't want to do or that can't be used for your intended purpose.
Of course, none of these GIS mapping systems are perfect. The only way to be 100% certain about the size and shape of a property is to order a land survey. Still, these online mapping solutions can be very useful if you're looking for a faster, cheaper way to get a basic idea that is usually reliable enough.
Remember that using the Wetlands Mapper and/or the Web Soil Survey is NOT the same thing as hiring a wetlands consultant and/or having the USACE do a delineation on your property (there are no guarantees with this approach). However, if you're just looking for an educated guess, both online tools can be used as a starting point.
Keep in mind not all vacant land purchases warrant this type of investigation. For example, if a vacant lot is in an established, platted subdivision, chances are this investigation was already completed back when the subdivision was first constructed. However, if you're buying raw land that has never been evaluated for building, this could be an important step in your due diligence.
This will be handled as part of their closing process when you close your land purchase through a title company or real estate attorney. However, if you are buying land directly from the seller and conducting the closing yourself (which I would not recommend if you're paying more than a few thousand dollars), there are a lot of things you'll need to verify to ensure you are receiving a clear and equitable title to the property. The last thing you want to do is buy a property from someone who doesn't own the property.
Again, if you're buying a property to build any type of structure, an often-overlooked cost that most people don't consider is the cost of creating the site plan and preparing the ground for construction.
When some people look at the prospect of owning land, they get wrapped up in the dream of property ownership. The idea of owning a large tract of property can seem very appealing, even if it is of no practical use to them. This kind of trap is especially easy for people to fall into with land because it's a low-maintenance property and doesn't seem complicated (even though there are a lot of factors to consider).
If you're looking to buy land in a state like North Carolina, one of the biggest questions is where to look. Each of the state's regions offer unique opportunities and pose distinct challenges to incoming developers or investors looking for land. Your search for a residential lot in the mountains near Asheville will look vastly different from a search for commercial property in the Outer Banks.
Buying a vacant lot is an important and complex decision, just like any real estate purchase. For starters, there are plenty of reasons to buy a parcel of land. If you buy a house, it's probably so you can live in it; but with land, you could choose to build your own house, use the property as a long-term investment or even to start a business. Property also introduces a host of issues you don't normally face when buying a house. There are all sorts of restrictions that could apply to a vacant lot; you might not be able to build a house on it at all.
Before shopping for a piece of land, you should develop a general idea of where you'd like to make a purchase. You can go for an exploratory drive and use online resources to help you. For example, if you're buying a few acres of land to build a house you'll likely want to consider things like access to schools, your job, grocery shopping and restaurants. (Later we'll delve into specific land concerns.)
If the land is for business use, choosing won't be so easy; you'll have to carefully analyze a prospective location's business value. But if you're already planning a business, you should have that in mind already. Whatever kind of land you're looking for, the costs can add up quickly even before you start construction. Next we'll hit on some of the basics to be ready for.
Real estate is an investment of time and money; the more time you spend preparing, the more ready you'll be to spend your money wisely. What kind of expenses can you expect to incur when buying a vacant lot? At some point during the purchasing process, you might want to consider title insurance. It "protects owners and lenders against any property loss or damage they might experience because of liens, encumbrances or defects in the title to the property" [source: Hayes]. Consider it your shield against legal complications involving your property. While title insurance isn't necessarily required during a property transaction, if you apply for a bank loan or a mortgage, the financial institution may recommend you purchase title insurance to protect their investment and your own.
Another potential cost to consider: a land survey. It's possible you won't need a survey done on land you're interested in buying. The land could have been recently surveyed, and with a little legwork you should be able to find out if and when a survey's been done. We'll get into surveying in-depth later, but keep in mind that you may need to hire a professional surveyor to chart out the boundaries of your property. Because surveys vary based on location and a host of other factors, it's hard to give a general estimate of how much one will cost.
Finally, remember that utilities and building costs will be expensive. In some cases, you may have to pay to have electricity and water run to your house before you even begin monthly service fees. On some land, you'll have to drill a well or install a septic system before home construction. If you're buying a piece of land as an investment, you'll bypass quite a few of those headaches.
Figuring out the basics of zoning shouldn't be too difficult. For instance, certain areas will clearly be zoned residential. You can seek out the zoning office in any U.S. county or look it up online to find useful records for any parcel of land. While you're digging around in those records, make sure to pay attention to the county's long-term land use plans and scheduled road additions. Those will dictate future construction and could spell the difference between a nice quiet front yard and a house uncomfortably close to an interstate 10 years from now [source: Kenton].
Land destined to be built on or sold is typically carved up into smaller parcels that make up subdivisions. The land in a subdivision likely already has some restrictions placed upon it that you'll want to know about before buying. If the vacant lot you're eying is in the middle of an already developed community, chances are good that a homeowner's association governs that area. Homeowner's associations command membership fees and set the rules for behavior and decorum in the area. Following their rules could dictate how frequently you cut your grass, where you park your car or even what kind of pets you have [source: Christensen].
Those of you looking to invest in property and keep it pristine and unaltered won't have much use for utilities. For everyone else, they're a vital element of the equation. Any vacant lot you're eyeing for a home or business will need utility access. That includes electricity for power, gas for heat, and lines for internet, television and phone. You'll want some or all of those piped into your property when construction begins. One way to bypass this concern entirely is to purchase vacant land that already has utilities installed.
More important, however, is the issue of access. A public road obviously guarantees a route to a vacant lot at all times. But when private roads enter into the equation, things get complicated. If your property is landlocked, the typical solution is to make an arrangement with a neighbor for guaranteed access via a private road through their land, known as an easement. We'll discuss this next.
With easements, we delve into the world of real estate law. According to Merriam-Webster, an easement is "an interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment" [source: Merriam-Webster]. Imagine you find that perfect piece of property. It has everything you're looking for: a lush, dense forest, a babbling brook and a clearing with an amazing view perfect for your dream house. But there's a problem. There's no public road with direct access to the property, and the only way to access it is via a private road owned by your would-be neighbor. That's where easements come in. 041b061a72