When prospective buyers head out to a vacant lot for a potential purchase, they often think it’s a much easier decision than it actually is. After all, it’s not like there’s a house that needs to be inspected. It’s just a plot of land, and it must be much more simple than buying a house. While this is, at least, partially true, there are still plenty of things to consider when looking to buy a vacant lot besides where it is. Here are just a few tips for when you’re looking to buy one.
1. Know the costs involved
Vacant lots are often not connected to all the necessary utilities, and sometimes don’t even have the right roads needed for proper, regular access. So unless you want to park your car and walk to your unpowered house everyday, it pays to learn about everything you need to pay for after the lot is paid for in full. Major considerations include title insurance, the cost to run cables and water systems to your lot, and even the cost of drilling for a well. It also doesn’t hurt to have a land survey performed, just so you know exactly what you’re dealing with before the ink is dry on all the important paperwork.
2. Figure Out the Zoning
Zoning restrictions are the bane of almost every vacant lot owner, and it’s mostly because purchasers don’t actually research before buying, or assume that these things will sort themselves out afterwards This is simply not true. Before you buy, look into the various zoning laws and restrictions that could affect your property, including future ordinances, city mandates, and dimension issues that could affect where you build your home.
3. Learn Your Permits
Once you know the land, the zoning, the restrictions, the cost of utilities and road access, and the location, it’s time to look into permits. Building can’t simply be done to your specifications, they have to match city bylaws, provincial regulations, and federal law. So be sure to know the cost and expected wait times of permits before you buy and start construction. Having a plan and getting most of it ready, only to get tied up in permits, is often one of the worst things that can happen to the proud new owners of a vacant lot.
In many ways, vacant lots are almost more complicated than one with a house, when it comes to purchasing. A housed lot, in a sense, has done much of the homework for you. So if you’re looking at buying a lot instead of a home, be sure to do your homework first. Look into what needs to be done before the land can be developed, and be sure to familiarize yourself with zoning and permits. It can save you a lot of hassle in the long run, and help you build your dream home faster.