Buying Undeveloped Land? Make Sure You Do Your Due Diligence

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Buying Undeveloped Land? Make Sure You Do Your Due Diligence

Buying undeveloped land seems like it should be a lot simpler than buying a structure or home. All you need to check is that the land is the right size and in the right location, right? Well, not quite. As it turns out, there's more to buying land than you might think, and you should do your due diligence by doing the following before making an offer on a lot.

Have the land surveyed.

It's not unheard of for someone to buy land and think they know where the lot lines are, only to learn later on that they own a lot less or a lot more than they presumed. You should know exactly where every lot line is before you make an offer on a plot of land. If this is not known, have the land surveyed. It's cheaper to pay for a survey than to take your neighbor to court over a land dispute a few years down the road.

Check for wetlands designations.

In many areas, if some land is designated as wetlands, there are restrictions as to what you can do with it. You won't be able to build on it, and you may not be able to landscape or garden it. These regulations exist to protect species that live in wetlands. Make sure you check the public records to see whether any of the lot is designated as wetlands before you buy. 

Talk to a builder or architect.

You don't need to make specific building plans right now, but you should at least contact a builder or architect and ask them to look over the lot. Give them a general idea of what you plan on building — is it a 2,000 square foot home or a 20,000 square foot retail store? And ask whether they think doing so on this specific lot is feasible. There are a lot of snafus you could not be aware of as someone who is not a professional builder.

Check what's happening on neighboring properties.

What are the neighboring properties like? If the land is surrounded by family homes, you may not want to build a loud steel shop on the land. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you don't want to buy land surrounded by factories to use as a farm! Usually zoning prevents situations like this, but not always, so do your own research.

Make sure you do your due diligence before buying land. You'll be glad you took time to think through the decision and look into the right aspects of the property.

If you are interested in purchasing land, be sure to contact your local real estate agency.

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In Real Estate, It Pays to Have a Plan Real estate purchases are big purchases. You may pay several hundred thousand dollars, or even more, for a property. As such, there's not a lot of room for error. If you buy a house that needs a lot of unexpected work or end up in over your head when it comes to the mortgage, your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare house. We want to help you avoid scenarios like that, which is why we share so much information about real estate on this blog. Our readers emerge more informed on a wide array of topics, from buying to closing.