Buying land is different than buying a home. The more you understand about a land purchase before you begin your search, the more prepared you will be once you’ve found the site for your new Yankee Barn home.
According to U.S. News & World Report, these are the Dos & Don’t’s for buying vacant land:
Do Work with a Pro Who Knows Land – When purchasing land, it is important to hire a real estate agent who has extensive experience in negotiating land deals. The best advice is to use an agent who has experience in representing both buyers and sellers for land transactions.
Do Consider Value of Homes in the Neighborhood – Be sure you are building in an area of similarly valued homes. It’s happened more than once where someone buys property and designs their dream home, only to be turned down for a construction loan because the cost of land and construction was more than the home values in the neighborhood.
Do Take Utilities and Road Access Into Account – Access to running water, electricity and sewer are not always a given when buying land. Be sure to consider the possible need for adding infrastructure to a property prior to purchase.
Don’t Expect to Get a Loan – A land purchase can’t be leveraged with a bank the same way a home purchase can, so make sure you understand your bank’s policies before you buy then land.
Don’t Skip the Survey or Environmental Tests – Like a home inspection and background research on a house, a plot of land needs to be subjected to tests and checks. Ensure you know what you’re buying and that you’ll be able to build on the land before purchase. Soil contamination and potential for flooding are two of the tests you’ll encounter. A surveyor will be necessary to identify boundaries. When possible, it’s best to buy land that already has a completed survey, geology, and soils report. Even if some need to be redone, knowing the history of the land gives you a leg up.
Don’t Talk to Neighbors – While speaking to neighbors when you’re looking at a house may be a great idea to get a feel for the area, discussing your plans to build on a vacant lot can lead to organized opposition to your future dream home. Hold off on making friends with the neighbors until the home is built and you’re moved in. Otherwise, discussing plans could lead to a neighbor dispute before you’ve even broken ground.
Don’t Assume You Can Have Property Rezoned – Your local governing body will have zones, codes and ordinances that limit what can be built on any property or require certain steps to build a sound structure. Rather than trying to rezone property, it’s best to keep your vision within existing limits. Seek land that will allow you to build the home you want, but know your plot’s restrictions before finalizing the plans.
Resource: US News & World Report