The perfect plot of land to build involves more than an idealistic view of how life will be, or making sure there is enough space to build the home and outbuildings you want. There are all kinds of considerations that, while they may not pose an obvious or immediate problem, could turn into trouble sometime in the future. Here are a few of the details you’ll want to look at before choosing a piece of land.
The plot you’re looking at now might be in the perfect spot, be that a metro area, the suburbs or out in the country. But what about in 20 years from now? You can’t gaze into a crystal ball and predict the future of your neighborhood, but there is one thing you can do. Check with your city or county’s planning commission. Many areas have detailed plans for future development, either within your neighborhood or for other nearby areas. Use those plans to forecast how your neighborhood – and the areas surrounding it – will grow and change over the coming decades.
Perhaps you run a home-based business, or your dream is to one day open a small store on your property. If that’s the case, make double sure that you check up with the local zoning board before you buy land in a given area. All too often, people start a home business only to find out after the fact that it’s against the city or county’s zoning regulations.
If you’re purchasing in an urban area, you’re likely to have access to water, sewer, gas, high-speed internet and all the other utilities that turn a house into a home. The only consideration you’ll need to think about is the cost of those utilities from one area to the next.
In rural areas, however, you may not even have access to phone lines – at least, not without paying a lot of money to have those lines run to your home site. Internet lines, cable and gas lines may not be available at all. Before you buy, learn what kind of utilities you have, who provides them and how much they’re likely to charge.
Insurance rates are not equal from place to place, and in fact, you’ll sometimes find that people two neighborhoods over are paying through the roof because of some obscure factor that drives up the area’s risk. Check to make sure that the plot isn’t in a flood plain, near to a fault line or a part of some other type of risk zone.
There are also few less obvious things to look for, such as the property’s fire protection class, which is a rating assigned by the insurance industry that factors things like the quality of nearby fire departments and your proximity to fire hydrants. Even things like nearby fracking activity can drive up your insurance rates or preclude you from certain coverages.
Once you find that plot that looks great, get in touch with all the right people to make sure it truly is perfect. This includes your insurance agent, city or county planners, the zoning commission and any local utilities. Make sure that your otherwise perfect plot doesn’t come with a few inconvenient strings attached!
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