Buying Land: A Beginner’s Guide on How to Buy Land in 2022 

hand putting a pin on map with land and lots

When done with careful planning, buying land can be the best investment you’ll ever make. However, the process of buying a piece of land isn’t a walk in the park, especially if this would be the first time you’re dipping your toes in the real estate industry. Knowing how to buy land in 2022 will help you determine whether it is the right path to homeownership for you. To help you out, we curated a beginner’s guide to the most important considerations.  

Double-Check If You Can Build on the Land

You’re likely purchasing a plot of land with intentions to build on it. However, multiple factors could affect the building’s potential. So, contact the city planning department to ask about the land for sale. Focus on the following:

Learn the Zoning Regulations and Rules

Every property is classified for a specific use, such as agricultural, commercial, or residential. Local counties or city authorities establish the zones and rules about what’s allowed there. Having zoning information about the property you’re eyeing will help you determine whether you’ll be allowed to build what you want on the plot of land. The zoning rules vary, so it’s best to check the local zoning department’s website and see if you can find that information online. When considering zoning laws, also make sure to take a look at those that apply to your immediate neighborhood to study the potential for development in the future and how it might affect the value of your property or the ability to live there.

Check If There Are Physical Environment Limitations 

In addition to zoning regulations, the physical environment, including climate, soil, and topography, can influence the potential for land use. Here are some questions to consider: 

Can you construct close to the boundary of the property? Local governments place setbacks on the property and limitations on where structures can be built. A setback produces a form of the buffer zone — the minimal separation between the house you plan to develop, and a property line or other structure. Setbacks vary by location and contribute to safety, aesthetics, and privacy. It’s crucial to consider the property setbacks when assessing whether there is a large enough building area for your home. 

What is the topography of the area? Flat properties are undoubtedly the least expensive to build on. Conversely, if the property requires moving a lot of ground and trees to make a building pad, the process will cost considerably more. 

Is the soil fit for construction? A soil test or geotechnical study determines how much weight the soil can support. Based on this information, you can decide if the ground is solid enough to sustain a foundation. A soil test might also reveal important information if you intend to farm the area or suspect any contamination. Moreover, a simple percolation test can determine whether the land has adequate drainage for a septic system if you live in a rural location without sewer hookups. 

Is the land in a floodplain? If the answer is yes, keep in mind that you would have to obtain flood insurance, which could cost hundreds of dollars a year.

Discover Any Deed Restrictions

A deed is a document that transfers ownership of a property. In addition to ownership details, it features property descriptions and any restrictions on land that might prevent or limit how you use the property. Usually, land plots under an HOA’s government will have deed restrictions. Common examples include limits on home-based businesses, fences, and parking spaces. Be sure to ask the homeowners association for a copy of CC&Rs or consult a natural agent to find the information.

Consider the Access to the Property

If the property you consider buying is on a public road, you won’t have a problem with access. However, some properties — especially undeveloped land in more rural areas — don’t have direct access and you’ll likely have to go through someone else’s parcel to get to yours. But without an easement, your property would be landlocked, diminishing the land’s potential use and value. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure you get the right of passage in writing before you close. To find easement information, check the property’s plat map. The map can be found at the city recorder or clerk’s office.

Consider If There Are Utilities on the Property

Usually, if the parcel of land is planned for development, the builder will already have brought utilities, including electricity, water, and sewer. However, buying raw land often means there aren’t utilities. Plots of land in rural areas might require you to make a more significant effort to connect utilities. More often than not, this would include drilling a well or digging trenches. Keep in mind that these are expensive projects, so calculate the price. You could always resort to off-grid living technologies, but consider their viability and cost before deciding. 

How to Buy Land

The traditional process of buying land involves a lot of legwork. First of all, if you are not wondering how to buy land with cash, you’ll have to look into financing options. The first step is to contact a lender and go through possible solutions. You might also decide to hire a real estate agent, which would mean paying a high commission. As soon as you find suitable land and do your due diligence, the next step is to submit a purchase offer. Then, once you know the property’s price, you’ll have to formally apply for a land loan. Only after your financing is approved can you go through with the sale and close. 

However, this process can be daunting and time-consuming. So, instead of the traditional way of buying a lot, you could consider to buy land online and avoid the lengthy and stressful process of applying for a loan and become a landowner in a few easy steps.

Final Thoughts

With verified sellers like DiscountLots, you can enjoy a hassle-free process. You can browse a vast selection of land listings, including exclusive, off-market offers. Moreover, you can choose a flexible payment option that suits your needs. In addition, the team handles the qualification decisions internally without doing a formal credit check or formal underwriting process. Last but not least, there are no agent commissions which means more money in your pocket! 

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