6 FATAL Land Buying Mistakes

Posted by on Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 at 4:49pm.

What happens if you look and look but can’t find your dream home? No house is perfect, but if you can’t budge on your needs, building your own home might be your best bet! 

But before you start looking for land for this amazing home of yours, read this first to avoid some serious land buying errors that can wreck your whole plan. Here are 6 land buying mistakes you don’t want to overlook:

1. Not using the help of a professional 

So you see a lot that is For Sale By Owner in the neighborhood you want and think it might be easier to just handle the negotiations yourself. Think again! An experienced realtor is going to know exactly what goes into buying a piece of land and the zoning requirements, legal access information and other less obvious things that need to be checked on. You might be tempted to go it alone, but that’s an expensive risk to take! 

2. Not checking zoning ordinances

Before you sign on the dotted line, you’ll need to check with the city or county to see what type of zoning is on the land you wish to purchase. Even if you think you’ve found the perfect piece of land, there may rules on what can be built there! The code might specify industrial use, retail, agricultural or something other than what you need. It’s better to be safe than to be stuck with a hunk of land that’s useless to you. Zoning and other land regulations can be accessed through public records at your local zoning office or city hall. 

3. Not making sure you can legally access the land

You mean to tell me that someone can sell you land that you can’t even access? Mmhmm, they sure can. It’s your job to make sure the property is accessible, and that there is an easement in place if you have to go through another person’s property to get there. This gets especially tricky if you’re looking into rural areas where you may be able to legally access the property, but there might not be roads to get there! 

4. Not visiting the property 

You’d be surprised how many people jump into buying property without even seeing it first. Google Earth can show you a lot, but there’s a lot you can miss about a piece of land if you don’t actually set foot on it. Either have a trusted realtor check it out for you and provide a video tour or make sure to be there yourself.

5. Not getting a survey and proper testing

Just like you can’t skip the inspection when you buy a home, you can’t skip the survey for your land purchase. A plot of land needs to be subjected to tests and checks to ensure you know what you’re buying and that you’ll be able to build on it. The environmental testing shows any contamination in the soil that could prevent you from building a house there. You’ll also want to have the land tested for the soil condition and to see if it has potential for flooding. The survey also identifies the boundaries of the land, which you’ll need to know before you build and just in case a discrepancy comes up with future neighbors. 

6. Not checking on utilities

Water is just a little bit important. You might take water access, electricity and other modern conveniences for granted when you buy an existing home, but if you’re building your own on vacant land, those aren’t always guaranteed! Find out the depth of your water table and determine the difficulty of digging. If the ground is mostly rock, it can be expensive to bring electricity, telephone or cable services to the property if they are not already established nearby. Also be sure to check that you can install a septic system if you’re unable to hook up to a sewer system. 

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