The biggest mistake people make when buying land is buying the cheapest lot available. Bargains can still be found. However, the laws of supply and demand work against you. You may be lucky and get a lot out of this method. However, I wouldn’t count on that. Most of the time you will need to follow a proven procedure. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide to purchasing land for your custom home or as an investment vehicle.

Before you start discovering the winning strategies and start bidding, you need to define what you want in detail. The clearer and more specific you can describe the terrain you want, the better your chances of getting it:

  • If you intend to build your dream home on this lot, my advice is to get the blueprint you want before you start your search. With the floor plan, you will know the minimum dimensions of your potential lot. Setbacks and other critical dimensions will be easy to determine.
  • Do you want a large batch that requires more maintenance or a smaller batch with no maintenance? Define the amount of acres needed based on your need.
  • It is also important to consider the view of the lot. If this is the land you chose, you will enjoy or endure the current view for a long, long time.
  • Do you want a basement? If you do, this is another parameter that you will need to add to your search. It is easier to build a basement on a sloping lot.
  • How wide do you need your lot? Do not neglect this step or it will cause severe heartburn. Most building codes will have a minimum width required to build a house.
  • Do you need residential or commercial properties? How many houses can you build on your lot? This is defined by the existing zoning requirement.
  • Do you want to build on an existing subdivision or may you want to buy where there are no restrictions? If you are buying a lot in a subdivision, make sure the covenants work for you and not against you.
  • Do you have school-age children? In this case, you will need to locate your lot near good schools.
  • How far are you willing to travel to get to work?
  • There is an old saying about the three most important factors when buying land: location, location and location. Well, it is true.

Where are you looking for land? – Finding the right batch may involve approaching the task from several angles. The following list has worked for me in the past.

Construction lot sources:

  • MLS – Real Estate Agents. Get the real estate agent on your side. They can provide a weekly list of all the lots in your area. Sometimes they get deals before they become part of the MLS.
  • Internet Search: You may want to search for the following terms: “land for sale” or “lots for sale” + name of the area where you want to search. For example, if you want to find land for sale in Raleigh NC, you would enter the following terms into your favorite search engine “land for sale” + “Raleigh NC” or “lots for sale” + Raleigh NC.
  • Newspapers – The Sunday classifieds section of your local newspaper is still a good source for people looking to sell their properties. Get in the habit of checking Sunday’s listings.
  • Look for legal plates at your county courthouse or local government office.
  • Where there are only large parcels of land available, you can buy and subdivide the land. However, before taking this step, make sure your local zoning allows it.
  • Sometimes you can buy lots from a developer who has completed his project and wants to move.
  • Check the foreclosure lists
  • Ask the home builders. Visit their websites.
  • Read real estate magazines.
  • Drive for a lot. Look for the “For Sale” signs on the lot.
  • Advertise in batches
  • Friends: If you let them know that you are looking for land, people will let you know if they see a sign that advertises a lot.

Six keys to success:

Once you have located the lot for your future customs house, it is vitally important that you test the following parameters:

  1. Is your land located in a flood zone? You can determine zoning by accessing county records on the Internet. If you don’t have access to the Internet, your real estate agent should be able to give you this information.
  2. Do you meet the county’s minimum size requirement for a home? If so, great! However, you still have to make sure that it fits your future custom home on the lot and meets the required setbacks. If not, go to your next option.
  3. How far is your lot from the street? If your lot is too far from the road, you will need to estimate the cost of building a driveway or driveway. Is it economically viable to continue with the project?
  4. Does your lot have easy access to city utilities? If you DO NOT, you will need to familiarize yourself with the following options:
    1. A well may be necessary to supply all of your drinking water.
    2. If you are not near a sewer line, a septic tank will need to be installed. In this case, before bidding on the lot, you will need to add a clause to the contract stating that you must pass a proof of profit. If the soil does not pass the benefit test, it will not be suitable for a septic tank.
    3. It is also a good idea to invest in an emergency generator in case the power fails.
  5. Before buying your lot, check the prices of homes in the area. If they are 20% lower than your proposed home, you may want to think twice before continuing.
  6. Get a title search before buying the land. This will ensure that the title is free and clear.

Clearly, finding a “nice” lot isn’t easy. It requires a large investment of time and resources. However, if you follow the guidelines outlined in this article, you will find your lot. The reward is worth it and will last a lifetime.

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