You want to buy a piece of land to build a custom home. That’s great, but do you know what you are doing? Think it’s easier than home buying? Not necessarily, as many different factors arise. Use these land-buying strategies to ensure you purchase the right parcel for your home.

Check Zoning

How a parcel is zoned is important to current and future use. Check city, county and state zoning as applies to the parcel. Review the zoning restrictions. Ask the appropriate parties about any plans to change zoning that may impact your home-building plans. Likewise, know who has already purchased property in the area. For instance, will your neighbor have a chicken farm with roosters crowing and hens squawking that will interfere with your night-owl ways?

Plan Utilities

Are electric, water, gas and sewer lines already to the lot line? If so, it is less costly to continue them to the home itself. If not, find out how far the lines are away from the property and factor in the price of getting them to the home. Land located away from larger towns or cities may be too far from utilities. In that case, price a septic system, propane tank, solar panels and storage batteries, and generator to keep your future home running off the grid.

Look At Characteristics

Is the property on such a slope that construction is difficult or will rainwater drain toward the home site? Is the land too rocky or are there frequent landslides onsite? Look into soil types, sloping, water concentrations, rockiness and other land characteristics to determine if building on the parcel is prohibitive.

Study Easements

Do you have direct access to the parcel via a public road or do you gain access through another owner’s property? Do others have easements through the parcel to get to their land? Study the parcel title to see if an easement is granted for adjacent owners or if you need an easement to get to the land you want to build on and, if so, if one will be granted to you by the owner whose property you must cross.

Learn Restrictions

Whether in town or out in the country, land restrictions may apply. For instance, country areas may have restrictions on land acreage for home sites, such as no less than 5-acre parcels. Land within city boundaries may require only one-story homes. Learn the building restriction for any parcel you are interested in buying.

Get Survey

Request to see a recent survey. If one wasn’t done or the surveyor is not reputable, you may need to get another survey done so the property lines are clear. Make sure you know the property lines and ask what markers were used. Compare the new survey with the title to rule out property boundary disputes from neighbors.

Buying land requires a lot of knowledge. Consult a real estate agent who specializes in residential land sales for your purchase. An agent knowledgeable in purchasing land will know all the nuances and questions to ask about any parcel you are interested in buying with ready resources to come to your aid.

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