How to Assess Land Before Buying and Building on It

Category : Real Estate
Posted By : Ambrose Onyango
Posted Date : 23 Nov 2018 11:43 hrs

How-to-assess-land-before-buyingAre you planning to buy land and later build on it? Read on and discover how to assess land before buying and building on it.

Pay Attention to Regulations

People who want to know how to assess land before buying and building on it should start by examining the different regulations governing the land in question. First, consider the zoning laws of the area where the land is located. Is that land categorized as commercial, industrial or residential land? Any use to which you intend to put that land must be in line with the area zoning laws.

Secondly, look at the sub-division regulations of that area. Those regulations may impose restrictions that may prevent you from building the kind of structure that you want to build on the empty land. For example, the sub-division regulations may place a maximum height of all the buildings in that area. Such restrictions can compel you to alter the plan of the building which you had intended to construct.

Verify the Previous Use of the Land

It is also wise for you to investigate what the parcel of land was used for in the past. This investigation is important because it can reveal potential problems that you may face when you acquire that land.

For example, the land may have been used for agricultural purposes years ago. Consequently, that land may have toxic substances in it. It can therefore be very expensive for you to clean up that land once you take possession of it.

Catching such problems before you buy the land can allow you to negotiate the purchase price downwards with the cost of remediation in mind, or you can back out of the purchase in case the estimated cost of cleaning up that land is likely to be higher than you can afford.

Find Out About Easements

The usable portion of the lot you want to buy may be smaller than you imagine when you see the land itself. Such a possibility comes about due to the easements that may exist on that land. Easements refer to the rights another person or entity has to access a given piece of land for one reason or another.

For instance, a neighbor may have an easement to use part of the land you want to buy as an access route to their adjoining property. Such an eventuality raises a number of implications, such as reduced privacy since the neighbor will keep crossing through your land in order to reach his or her land.

Fortunately, you can find out about any existing easements before you buy and build on that land so that you decide whether the land is still suitable for your needs even if the easements are in place.

Research About Natural Disasters

It is also prudent for you to research about any natural disasters to which the land is susceptible before you buy and build on it. An example of a possible natural disaster is flooding, so you need to find out if the land is in a flood plain or not.

You should also consider investigating the specific risks that the land may face due to its location on a cliff. For instance, is there a risk of a landslide occurring on the land? Decide whether you can mitigate those risks (buying flood insurance, for example), or you may need to look for a less risky piece of land for your project.

Sources of Utilities

Vacant land can present serious challenges with regard to utilities. Consequently, you need to devote ample attention to investigating the sources of the utilities you will need once you build on that land.

Start by finding out whether you will have rights to dig a well on the property once you acquire it. Avoid assuming that such rights will come with the purchase of the land, since the water rights on the property may belong to another person altogether.

Also, look into how easy or expensive it will be to get telephone, sewer connections, electricity and gas to the land you plan to buy.

Sounds and Smells

Many people hope to escape from the noise and the pollution in big cities by acquiring properties in rural areas. However, some of those people soon realize that they exchanged one set of problems for another, equally bad set of problems in the countryside.

An example of such a disappointment is if someone inadvertently fails to notice that the rural property he or she has bought is near a major highway. The noise from the traffic on such a road can be equal to or worse than the noise they used to hear when living in a city.

Similarly, a person may try to escape the smell of car exhaust fumes in the city and he or she opts to buy land or a house in a rural community. Such a person may accidentally buy property that is right next to a livestock farm. Thus, the smell of petroleum fumes could end up being replaced by the smell of animal wastes. Caution must therefore be taken to establish what kind of sounds or smells are characteristic of the land to be purchased.

Check the View and Related Aspects

Ask yourself whether you like the different views on the property. Is there a huge structure obscuring your view from one side of the land? Are you comfortable with the breezes blowing through the land? Will the property receive sufficient or too much sunlight once construction is completed?

Think about all those issues and visit the land at different times of the day. In this way, you will be able to get a clearer picture of what it will be like to use that land on a day to day basis.

As you can see, you will have a lot of work to do when you start looking for information on how to assess land before buying and building on it. Write notes or prepare a checklist and make sure that you get help from the appropriate professionals during that assessment. For instance, a lawyer can help you conduct a title search in order to discover whether there is anything that raises an eyebrow. Use the feedback from those professionals to make an informed buying decision.

By Ambrose O. for Ezega Real Estate

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