Welcome to your very own parcel of land! Congratulations on seeing it for the first time. When you’re a new property owner, it’s not always easy to know where to start, here’s what to look for when visiting your property for the first time:
Survey & Access
Many people start their land-buying experience with a land survey. If you decide to have your land surveyed, a surveyor will come out and stake out the property lines for you. These will mark the exact lines of the property, which defines its boundaries. Walking the property line is a great way of familiarizing yourself with the layout of your lot. A survey also will give you an idea of the property’s access type (legal, landlocked, or with an easement). This is good to know so you can price out the cost of building a suitable road for getting building materials to your lot.
Walking the property also will give you a clearer picture of its suitability for building. Are there lots of hills that need to be graded? Do you have to clear the property of trees and brush to have the yard of your dreams? These questions typically can be answered by a combination of personal preference and a call to the county planning commission. The planning commission will have the zoning restrictions, which will govern what can or cannot be done on your lot. These laws work in conjunction with any state laws regarding property.
Utilities & Cost
Another item to consider is whether the land has utilities on it. Are there power lines nearby that could provide power? Are there natural gas lines? What heating source will you need to install? Knowing the availability of utilities in the area (water, sewer, electricity) is a necessity because there may not be access to public utilities on more rural parcels. If you need a septic system, you will need to have a perc test done to find out if the soil allows for drainage. You don’t want to be left high and dry on your new property!
Enjoy the process of learning the history and particulars of your land. Though land ownership is a journey, it is a very rewarding one so don’t be afraid to dive in.