Purchasing vacant land is in many ways more complicated than acquiring a house. What you see, is important, but what you do not see – the condition of subsurface water and soil, legal requirements, deed restrictions, seasonal effects or the title – have an even greater effect on your land.
Even if you are familiar with home construction, that undeveloped piece of land may hold many surprises. One of the biggest of surprises is the cost of site development, which can be staggering. The first thing you should do is educate yourself as much as possible to know what questions you should ask – just to avoid you getting blindsided by unknown unknowns.
Establish Your Priorities
Before you set out land shopping, take some time to write out a list of priorities. You may not afford your dream site right now, so you have to identify where you can compromise and where you need to stick to your goals. Some of the key things you should take into consideration include:
· Commuting distance: How far or near do you want to be from amenities such as doctors, restaurants, shopping centers and other business establishments that you may visit regularly. What is the maximum distance you would be willing to travel to do your shopping or go to work?
· Schools: Is the local school system great with you or are you looking for something different?
· Neighborhood: Are you looking for land that offers rural-style privacy with room for farmyard animals? Are you happier living in a more densely populated location where you are likely to bump into your neighbors more regularly?
· Taxes and fees: Have you checked out the local tax rates and are they acceptable? What are fees applicable for putting up buildings in the area? What are water, electricity, impact, special assessment and other fees you need to be aware of?
· Local government services: What are the private and public services available and accessible from your property?