Whether you plan to build your dream home or want to buy land as an investment, it is different from buying property with a structure already on it. There can be issues related to zoning, water rights and septic systems to think about.
If buying land as an investment, you need to look at it as something long-term. It is not a quick flip investment and should be held for at least 10 to 20 years, as its value will not go up quickly.
If you are not going to build a home right away on a piece of land, you will have to pay all cash or from 30 to 50% cash upfront and have almost perfect credit. But if building right away, you can borrow mortgage money on a construction to permanent loan. With a construction loan, the bank releases funds as construction stages are completed and inspected. When finished, the loan becomes a mortgage.
If land is not on a municipal sewer system, then a septic tank will probably be needed. A percolation or perc test will be used to test how absorbable the soil is to liquid that comes out of the septic tank.
Deed restrictions also need to be reviewed to determine any restrictions on building styles or dwelling square footage.
Land may be zoned for commercial or residential use. You must determine if the land is zoned for additional structures like detached garages or sheds, or the minimum structure size you can build.
Always check for easements on the property, which would let another person or entity have the legal right to another person’s property for specific reasons.
If there is no city sewer system, you may have to dig a well for water at a cost of $10,000 or more. If in a rural area, lakes may need to be added so firefighters have access to a water supply.
Buying land can seem like a great opportunity, but a lot of research goes into it and it is not easy. Be sure to use due diligence and consult with experts, specialists and a good realtor to make sure you are following all applicable real estate laws and local zoning guidelines.