When you find a great piece of land and make an offer to purchase it, you will be granted a timeframe of due diligence to undertake extensive research prior to closing on the deal. This time should be used carefully and effectively so that you understand precisely what you’re getting into with the transaction.
This timeframe period is usually 30 days, although it can be extended if necessary. There are many boxes to check during due diligence, which might be daunting. To help you stay on track, we’ve put together a broad checklist of chores to accomplish and appointments to make when buying vacant land in the US.
The Land Buying Due Diligence Checklist
1. Zoning restrictions
Local rules govern how property can and cannot be utilized in specific places. Before buying land, make sure you’re authorized to construct a home on an empty site. It shouldn’t be too difficult to learn the fundamentals of zoning. Certain regions, for example, will be clearly classified as residential.
To locate valuable documents for each piece of property, go to the zoning department in every U.S. county or search it up online. While you’re going through the documents, keep an eye out for the county’s long-term land use plans and projected road expansions. These will influence future structures and might be the difference between a pleasant, peaceful front yard and a residence that is uncomfortably close to a highway in ten years.
2. Road access
It’s rarely an issue in cities, but in the country, rural acreage for sale might be shut off from the main road and only accessible through private means. This can cause a number of issues. If the property is actually inaccessible by public roads, it may lack access to city sewage or water. To manage those essential services, you may need a well and a septic system, which may increase the building expenses.
However, the question of access is more significant. By definition, a public road always provides access to a vacant property. However, when private roads are included in the equation, things become more difficult.
3. Endangered plants or animals
The state and federal governments both preserve endangered animals and their habitats. Some endangered animals, such as the bald eagle, are well-known; others, such as gray wolves, are a source of controversy among ranchers and farmers concerned about risks to their herds.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service offers maps that show where federally protected endangered species are located near you, as well as the type of protection that the government will impose.
Many states protect more endangered species than the federal government. Examine the maps and listings for your state. Explore loan or grant options that will help you mitigate or cover the expense of safeguarding endangered animals on your property.
4. Examine water availability
When contemplating undeveloped property, this is one of the most significant hazards for a prospective buyer. The cost of boring a well may be significant, and it is mostly determined by drilling depth. Deeper wells incur higher development expenses, and a failed well necessitates repeated drilling in other areas.
These charges might easily add up to a big, unexpected outlay. In other regions, low-flow aquifers are also frequent. This may necessitate more storage space and may have an impact on the property’s marketability. In the worst-case scenario, there may be no water on the land. Is there an alternative to water, such as cisterns, if water cannot be found? Examine nearby well logs to determine the typical flow and depth. This may be done quickly and easily by visiting the website of your state’s water agency.
5. Examine the property
When you find a property, walk the entire parcel to thoroughly assess it. You must carefully consider the following:
- Hazards – Inspect the site for dangers such as rubbish dumps, underground or leaky fuel tanks, chemicals, or other concerns that might result in expensive cleanup expenditures.
- Boundary lines – Determine the property boundaries and check that any fence lines and other structures are inside them. Encroachments or property border disputes can be a major and costly issue. If there is no current survey or the boundary lines are unclear, obtain a survey of the property.
- Home site – Is there a suitable construction site on the property? Is the property zoned for construction by the county? Understand the property’s geography, taking note of wetlands, rocky outcroppings, flood plains, soils, hills, and drainage. Consider hiring a licensed constructor to assist you in inspecting the property to confirm that your home designs are viable on the site you’re interested in.
- Wetlands and drainage – Is the terrain conducive to water runoff? Are there any wetlands on the estate? Water concerns or wetlands can affect the type of home you can build, the location of the building on the site, and insurance rates. Many jurisdictions prohibit construction near wetlands or require compensation for renovations. Flood insurance and other construction charges may be required if you build in a flood plain. When wetlands exist, an environmental assessment establishing these limits and constraints may be a smart option.
6. Understand the costs involved
Real estate is a time and money investment; the more you devote to planning, the more prepared you’ll be to utilize your funds effectively. What type of costs might you anticipate when purchasing an empty lot?
You should think about title insurance at some point throughout the purchase process. It safeguards lenders and owners against any property damage or loss caused by liens, encumbrances, or flaws in the title to the property.
Consider it your protection against legal issues regarding your property. While title insurance isn’t always necessary during a property sale, if you apply for a mortgage or bank loan, the banking firm may advise you to get it to safeguard both your and their investment.
A land survey is another possible expense to consider. It’s conceivable that you won’t require a survey on the land you want to acquire. The land may have recently been surveyed, and with a bit of investigative work, you ought to be able to determine whether and when this happened. Be aware that you may need to engage a competent surveyor to define your property’s borders. Because survey costs vary depending on geography and a variety of other factors, it’s difficult to provide an estimate.
Finally, keep in mind that utilities and construction expenses will be high. In certain situations, you may be required to pay for the connection of electricity and water to your home before you can begin paying monthly service costs. Before you can build a house on some lots, you must either bore a well or establish a septic system. If you buy a piece of property as an investment, you’ll avoid most of these issues.
7. Examine the fire department, services, and schools
Relocating to the country may imply a lengthier commute, new schools, and fewer essential service providers. Examine the facilities and services offered by the rural estate you are contemplating relocating to, to confirm that the pricing and availability fit your requirements. Consider the following:
- Emergency services and fire protection – Where can you find the local fire station and hospitals? Can you acquire homeowner’s insurance with these variables in mind? Consult your insurance agent to find out what protection is available and how much the yearly premiums would be.
- Schools – Which school district is your land in? Is the school’s quality up to your standards? How long will it take to commute to school?
- Internet and cable service – What are your alternatives for internet and cable service? Is there access to high-speed internet? How much will it cost?
- Garbage service – What rubbish collection services are available? How frequently is the service offered? How much does it cost each month?
Your Land Buying Checklist
|✅ Zoning restrictions|
✅ Road access
✅ Endangered species or habitats
✅ Examine water availability
✅ Examine the property
✅ Understand the costs involved
✅ Examine the fire department, services, and schools
Let Us Help Buy Vacant Land in the US
Purchasing a vacant lot, like any other real estate acquisition, is a significant and difficult choice. To begin with, there are several reasons to purchase a piece of property. When you purchase a house, you presumably want to live in it. When you buy land, you might opt to construct your own house, utilize the land as a long-term investment, or even establish a company.
Property also offers a slew of challenges that you would not ordinarily encounter when purchasing a home. There may be limitations that pertain to a vacant lot; you may not be able to construct a house on it at all. There is a lot to learn before investing in property.
If you have a vacant lot that you need to sell, we’ll help you sell your land quickly without listing fees, and you’ll get a free, no-obligation cash offer. Why not give us a call today?