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What Should I Consider When Buying Land?

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  • Written By: Nychole Price
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2016
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People want to buy land for many reasons. The main reason for most people is the need to have a space of their own. Other reasons include cleaner air and the desire to build a custom house. Parcels that are located far from town are often the least expensive, per acre, but may cost more for delivery of supplies and hired labor. Besides costs, there are several other things to consider when buying land.

One of the most important factors to consider when buying land is the availability of utilities. Water is not always potable, nor do all water rights come with the land, meaning you may not be allowed to put in a well. Verify the costs of running electricity and telephone services to your land, if they aren't already in place. You may also need to install a septic system, if you can't tap into the sewer. These necessities can become very pricey.

Verify the zoning ordinances before buying land. You can learn what these are by checking with the city, county and state authorities. There may be restrictions on the land, such as not constructing buildings on parcels that are smaller than a specified size. If you are looking to have privacy and quiet, make sure there are no plans to build a supermarket or airport close by.

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When buying land, take into consideration the pros and cons of living in the country versus living in the city. You may have to smell smog and exhaust fumes when living in the city, but there will be pig and cow odors in the country. The noises of the traffic and people in the city will be replaced by roosters and goats in the country. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Consider the environmental hazards surrounding the area where you are buying land. Some mountainous areas are prone to flash flooding, landslides and avalanches. Areas along the fault lines are prone to earthquakes. Dry, hot areas may be at risk for wild fires. Check for other, less known hazards, such as toxins in the dirt.

When buying land, be sure to have a survey done on the property. This will let you know where your property lines are and what rights you have to your land. Make sure, if you have to cross other property to access your land, that there is an easement in place. Verify what your share of costs are to upkeep the roads.

Last, but not least, make sure to get an appraisal on the land. If you are going through a lender, that will already be a requirement. If you are paying cash you will have to order an appraisal on the land. Never make an offer until you have had an appraisal. You want to make sure you are getting what you pay for.

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