Buying a piece of land is a big commitment, and the process can be overwhelming at times. Here are some land buying tips to keep in mind.

What should I ask about the land?

  • Do the aesthetics of the land meet your vision when combined with a log home? As an extreme example, you would not want purchase a prairie lot if your vision includes tall pine trees.
  • Is the land located near your other interests and activities? If you ski every chance you get, then purchasing a ski-in/ski-out lot may be worth the cost.
  • What is the future use of the land surrounding this piece of land? You want to understand the area’s zoning because that can impact your view and space whether it is a three-story home or a noisy roadway. Check with your builder, local building department, title companies, and neighbors to uncover factors not easily noticeable.
  • Is the lot buildable? It is well worth the money to have your lot surveyed to better understand its topography. Remember that retaining walls, roads and driveways, utilities, and special permits drive up the cost of the home’s construction.
Land Purchase Considerations

What should I know about utilities?

  • Are utilities and/or amenities available? Developed lots may be more expensive because utilities are already there, whereas undeveloped lots require you to install utilities at your expense driving up construction costs. Developed lots in a subdivision may come with a community clubhouse, swimming pool, or other amenities. Please consult with a professional before buying an undeveloped lot. It is tricky, costly, and sometimes, not even feasible to install utilities.
  • Does the lot have water? If you cannot get city or municipal water, or drill a well, then lack of water is a deal breaker.
  • Is the soil appropriate for a septic drain field? If the lot does not have sewer access, then it will require a septic tank and drain field. Have a perc (percolation) test done to assess the soil condition and if it is appropriate for a septic drain field.
  • What other knowledge of the land should you have? Ensure you are fully informed of easements, access, setbacks, zoning, and other legal considerations. If anything is unusual, please consult a lawyer as the ability to get title insurance is critical.

When should I walk away?

  • Soggy soil or underground water. Understand how the dry and wet seasons affect the lot.
  • If the developer does not fulfill promises, be wary. Have a plan in the event that the developer defaults.
  • The title, easements, access requirements, or local building codes are not clear.
  • You cannot get full disclosure on the land.
  • When you cannot get clear information on the development of the surrounding land.

Even if you plan to keep your home indefinitely, resale value is important. Follow these guidelines to ensure you make a sound investment in your land. Learn how M.T.N Design designs your home to match the contours of your land while meeting jurisdictional requirements and regulatory codes.

Read about local covenants and design review boards.

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