Four Common Mistakes People Make When Buying Building Lots

Buying an empty lot and building your own home on it can be quite the adventure. Some aspects of this adventure are exciting, like looking at all the lots for homes available in your area—but others are scary and overwhelming. If you would like to maximize the positive aspects of building while avoiding the scary, overwhelming parts, here are some mistakes to avoid in the process.

1. Buying a lot that is not zoned residential.

You come across the perfect piece of land. It's situated against some cute little shops; there aren't even any other houses in sight! That might actually be for a good reason. The land may be zoned commercial, not residential. Before you buy any lot, make sure you check the zoning. If the land is not zoned residential, convincing the zoning board to let you build a house will be a big challenge. 

2. Buying land that does not drain well.

If you look at the land during a dry spell, it might look like it's dry enough and drains properly. Then, the first storm arrives, and you find that your brand-new basement is leaking. Or you may find out about this problem earlier, when your building contractor tells you that you need a costly moisture barrier installed around your foundation to keep your building from sinking. 

To prevent this mistake, look at the land after a rain storm, and make sure it still drains well. Consider having the land looked over by a surveyor or structural engineer, who can tell you whether drainage will be a problem.

3. Buying a lot with a non-buildable hill.

Your dream might be to build a house into a hill. But not every hill is able to be built into. And some hills may be very, very expensive to build into because the soil requires extensive excavation or stabilization before you can build. If you want land with a hill, have that hill very closely inspected by a structural engineer before you buy it.

4. Buying a lot near future commercial sites.

You're shopping for a quiet lot, and you find an empty piece of land surrounded by plenty of other empty land. Assuming the land around the lot will remain vacant may be a mistake. It may be slated for purchase by a company that will develop it into large stores or a gated community soon. Check with the municipality to see who owns or is slated to purchase the surrounding land, if it's empty.

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