Researching Land for Sale, Before You Buy

By Courtney Hageman

Getting ready to buy property isn’t as simple and straightforward as buying groceries. For starters, it’s typically not purchased regularly. Because of this, there are many complexities and questions that arise.

When you buy land, you’re investing your money, time and future. All of these are very important. To help save you from stress and frustration, LandCentral has compiled some helpful hints for how to research land for sale before you buy.

Undeveloped-landQuestions To Ask Yourself

There are several questions someone must consider before they buy. These should include:

  • Where do I want my property to be?
  • What purpose do I want this property to serve?
  • How much am I willing to spend?
  • What qualities do I want?

By compiling a list of your expectations or desires, you will be able to focus on what the important factors are to you. This will assist you significantly as you create a good, short list of potential properties.

If You Want to Build On Your Property

If your goal is to build a house on the newly-purchased vacant lot, there are a few things to consider when conducing your research. Most importantly, what is the zoning code for this property? County offices record all properties, and every county differs in zoning restrictions. Some counties have strict size rules, only allowing construction of a building if the property is of a certain acreage. Other times, you might be able to build a single-family dwelling, but not a commercial building, or vice versa.

Installing Power, Water and Sewage

Not every property has direct access to power lines. There are off-the-grid properties that might be too far away to set up water and sewage, preventing you from either building or living on the property.

Price

Vacant land is sold through a variety of ways. The most common method is by going through a real estate agency or broker. Lots are also often sold by a private party. The best way to see if you’re paying a fair price is by looking up what properties in the area are selling for with the county. Many times, this information is provided online on county websites.

Counties Are Your Friend

When researching lots for sale, the county the property is located in will be your best bet for the most up-to-date and accurate information. There are many different offices within the county. For questions pertaining to building or making any improvements to your land, the best department to contact is Planning and Zoning. For general questions about the property (i.e. its history of owners, who currently holds title to it, etc.) the Recorder’s office will be your best bet. Lastly, questions about property taxes can be answered by the Tax Assessor’s office.

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