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Land Buying Checklist: Things to know before buying land to build a home

Buying land is like buying a home – there are many factors to consider when trying to pick a property that is “just right” and if you overlook something important, you could end up paying for it later.  Here are the things you need to know before buying land to build a house on.

Land Use Regulations & Zoning Restrictions

Your real estate agent or the listing agent should have a good understanding of that particular property’s limitations when it comes to county, state and sometimes federal regulations. Zoning will also dictate what you can and can’t do in a specific location, so make sure you familiarize yourself with these restrictions first.

Septic and Water

Depending on the location of your property, you may not have access to public services like the sewer system or water, which means you’ll have to manage them yourself.

Septic systems are quite dependable long term and fairly easy to manage. You’ll have a few initial decisions to make regarding material (steel or concrete) and size, which will affect their longevity and how often you’ll need to schedule maintenance and servicing. Want to learn more? Mr. Rooter Plumbing has a great in depth comparison between septic and sewer.

When it comes to well water and drilling for wells, you’ll want to find a trusted local resource that can help you navigate the process. Drilling is really an exploration process of looking for a spot that provides enough water to suit daily and seasonal needs. To learn more about wells and groundwater use, check out The National Groundwater Association’s website.

Taxes

Taxes are going to vary by location, so it’s important to do your research on the properties beforehand. You’ll not only have to consider city and county property taxes, but you’ll also have to consider other taxes and fees, like transfer taxes and recordation taxes. Your local loan expert will be able to help you with identifying these depending on your situation.

Flood Zones

When the sun is shining, your perfect property looks like the ultimate paradise, but what happens when it rains? Not only should you make an effort to see the property in adverse weather, but flood zones also mean an additional expense for flood insurance to protect your investment.

What’s the easiest way to tell if the property you’re looking at is in a flood zone?

Check out FEMA’s interactive map tool that will let you search by address.

Available Amenities

If you’re looking to move to the country, we understand that it’s probably because you want to disconnect a little. In rural America, this can be a very literal reality as access to everyday amenities like cable and Wi-Fi can be severely limited. For some, this isn’t a problem. For others, like those that work from home or use certain technologies on the farm, you may want to start troubleshooting this issue before it becomes your reality. Make an effort to talk to some of the neighbors if you’re able or join a local online forum to discuss with those in the area.

Hopefully this list gives you an idea of what you need to learn before you buy land. If you have more questions, let us know! Our loan officers are the experts in land financing for Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the Virginias, and can point you in the right direction.