With real estate markets across North America seeing a shortage in inventory, more and more buyers may be inclined to buy land as an investment or a way to build a home to fit all their needs and wants. Buying land can present some different obstacles than a regular home purchase, so if you’re in the market for your own piece of property heed these suggestions to ensure you have a positive experience.
Work With An Agent
Working with a real estate agent through any property transaction is important, but when it comes to buying land, finding an agent with experience in land sales is a must. Agents with experience in land transactions will help to ensure that you have someone you can trust to know local regulations regarding the sale of land or know where to find the information you need to make an informed decision. But, be sure to ask your own questions and get as much information as you can before the contract is signed.
You may have an ideal location for your home or investment property, but (similar to a home purchase) you need to consider where the land is. Land parcels in areas prone to natural disasters may not be as appealing as those that aren’t. Also, consider the growth of the area. Some areas may not be heavily populated, but is the community/city expected to grow? If you’re looking for peace and quiet for years to come, it may be wise to look for something more remote.
Think of Utilities and Road Access
If you plan on building on your land, you need to consider utility and road access. If you can find a property with utilities already installed, then you’ll be ahead of the game, but if not, expect costs associated with getting the property hooked up to electricity, gas, phone, and possibly water and sewage (lots and parcels of land not close enough to public systems may have to have alternative options like well water or septic systems). Road access can present other issues – if the land is locked between other parcels of land, you may have to make arrangements with other land owners for an easement to access public roads.
Get an Environmental Test
It’s generally advised to have an inspection when buying a home, and it’s no different when it comes to purchasing land. When buying land, have proper environmental testing done to ensure that the land you’re buying is safe to live on. Soil can contain contaminants, water, be nutrient poor and a bad choice for agriculture, or just not stable enough for building. Tests are not enough – you also need to find a professional that can decipher the tests and give you accurate information to help you navigate your purchase.
Check Zoning Regulations
Most land throughout North America has land use laws, codes, or zoning regulations. When you’re thinking of buying land, you need to check all zoning regulations/codes for your local governing body to ensure the land you want to buy is zoned correctly for your needs and wants. There are instances of owners having the property rezoned, but it’s never a guarantee and in some areas it can take months or even years to finalize the change. Save yourself time, money and stress by checking the regulations before you make a final decision.
Buying any type of property is a process, and buying land is a unique one. Before beginning your search, get as much information as you can about purchasing land in your area, as the items above are only just a guide – there may be more or different items that come up based on your specific location. Research the process, find an experienced agent, ask questions, and seek out professionals who can help you make an informed decision you won’t regret.