It is not common for many homeowners to actually buy land and then build their home. Most of the population in America tend to buy from a home builder. In these situations, the land is owned by the builder and you are purchasing the land and home plans to be built in a single transaction. All of the leg work has been done by the builder to make sure the land is in buildable condition and that it also meet state and local building requirements.
But you are not interested in settling for the property and house plans a builder has to offer. You would rather take on the challenge of buying land yourself to build your own home. Do you know the things that should be considered in order to make a wise investment? Well, if you intend to buy land, you should know what to look for so you can be sure about the purchase you are making. If you've already purchased a piece of property, you still should continue to read as you may find some things that you've missed or maybe didn't consider.
Below are a list of items on how to buy land. They are in no particular order, nor do they need to be. Just know that these factors should be consider.Land Value - This will vary and it is a subjective matter. Depending on who is looking at the property (owner, appraiser, lender, you), the values will not always fall in harmony and this is common. Just remember that the most important value is the one you determine. If you are comfortable with the agreed upon price, then you should be comfortable with your decision to buy the land. You have time between the purchase and actual settlement to do your homework on the property and rescind your offer if you change your mind.
Land Restrictions - Know the zoning ordinances (city or county), private covenants, HOA (homeowners association). Be aware of the property zone and if it may be rezoned in the future. Check the land record in the courthouse of your local city or county to go over the covenants prior to buying or before you close on the land. In addition, if you buy in a neighbor or subdivision, you have to also consider the bylaws of the homeowners association and see what else may be restricted on your property.
Topography and condition of the land - A topography is of high value. It outlines the usable and unusable areas of your property. These highlights include potential drainage problems, easements, ingress and egress, and trees. Soil conditions must also be considered too. A soil scientist can help you with this and tell all you need to know. Whether you have to deal with rock in the soil (which can be expensive to remove), junk soil (soft soil usually a mixture of sand and clay that's unable to support a foundation), or the emittance of radioactive radon gas, you should know these things because it goes back to the value of the land and affects the overall cost to build on the land.
Trees - While these are nice visuals on a piece of property, if the land is saturated, you have to consider the cost of removing trees which can be an expensive undertaking. Make sure there is a spot on the property that isn't loaded with trees which reduces the cost on your part to prep the land for building.
Zoning - Make sure that you are buying land that is properly zoned. In the case of building your home, the zoning classification must be residential. It is also important to note that the city or county can change the zoning on a piece of property anytime after you have made the purchase. It is usually a change made from a lower zone to a higher zone (i.e. from residential to commercial), making your property more valuable. If it is raw land in this instance, you will not be able to build your home at that point.
Water and Sewer - Just make sure you have access to water supply (which is usual unless you build in complete wilderness and a water well is necessary) and determine whether you will need a septic tank or if you have access to public sewers.
Taxes - Know the cost of ownership in the long run. The property may be the right price, but are the taxes too high? Consider that when a home on that piece of land because things like schools, insurance, and impact fees come into play. A Impact fee implies an forceful entry on the community so a one-time fee is charged when you apply for a building permit. The fees are suppose to help fund the police, fire department, and schools of the local area in which you will become apart of.
Transportation - Do you require the presence or absence of public transportation? Also, do you know if the city or county has a 5, 10, 15, or 20 year plan that may include a road in what was once a beautiful view from your property location? You should know this before you buy. Check with the county office to see if your land will be affected by long term plans that are not yet known by the general public.
Moratoriums - On occasion the county may put a moratorium on building. If that is the case, you will not receive a building permit to build your home on your own land. Moratoriums are issued for several reasons; however, common causes may be the lack of water, roads, schools, police and fire departments. In other words, the county or city has to reduce building until local facilities are brought up to speed to meet the growth needs. They are not permament, but it can delay the building of a home on your land for a few years in some cases.
There are several other things that can be looked into such as site preparations, variances, and so on, but this aforementioned list is a solid foundation on how to buy land to build your home.