Acquiring a parcel on which to build is as American as it gets, a birthright dating back to the days of land rushes and “Go west, young man!” The practice has clear advantages: Custom building means having total control over every aspect of a house, from the foundation to the flooring to the views. And fall is an especially good time to look at a parcel of land. With the leaves off the trees, you can easily see its contours and how close the neighbors are, lessening the anxiety of a sometimes nail-biting process. “You take a little more risk when you build your own home,” says Gary Naeser, a custom-home builder in Washington, Pennsylvania, “but you end up with a lot more independence.”
Consider the following when you embark on the voyage of finding the perfect plot of land
Survey Your Kingdom
When you find property you like, thoroughly inspect it in person by getting a survey of the land from the seller and walking the entire property. That will give you a sense of the lot’s suitability for building. When drafting an offer for the purchase of real estate, unless the corners are clearly marked, you should ask that the sellers do so prior to closing at their expense so you know exactly what your buying. You should also take a drive with a local, who can give you insider info—like whether your quiet forest paths are winter snowmobile routes, or which neighbors give out tomatoes in summer. (We would be happy to show you around)
Follow The Paper Trail
Once you’ve picked out that dream lot, the next stop is city hall. Even though 29 states require full disclosure of potential problems with the property, many sellers don’t have all the information at their disposal. So the health department can tell you about local water and sewer codes, while the planning commission will have details on zoning restrictions. If you’re looking to build in a landmarked district, the preservation office will tell you if you need to conform to rules about building size, style, or materials. The town clerk can even show you the chain of title, if you’re curious about what the previous owner paid.
In some states it’s the assessor’s office where you will learn the most pertinent details. There you’ll find County Tax information as well as records about flood-zone boundaries and wetlands proximities, both of which will affect where you can build. However in Montana you will want to visit the City or County Planning office for Flood Plain Information.
Click this link to search for zoning information –>Bozeman City Zoning .
Additionally, your real estate agent can provide more information on taxes and zoning, as well as documentation from the Title Company as needed.
Know the Costs Involved
Real estate is an investment of time and money — and the more time you spend preparing, the more ready you’ll be to spend your money wisely. What kind of expenses can you expect to incur when buying a vacant lot? If you apply for a bank loan or a mortgage, the financial institution may recommend you purchase title insurance to protect their investment and your own.
Another potential cost to consider: a land survey. It’s possible you won’t need a survey done on land you’re interested in buying. The land could have been recently surveyed, and with a little legwork you should be able to find out if and when a survey’s been done. Finally, remember that utilities and building costs will be expensive. In some cases, you may have to pay to have electricity and water run to your house before you even begin monthly service fees. On some land, you’ll have to drill a well or install a septic system alongside home construction. If you’re buying a piece of land as an investment, you’ll bypass quite a few of those headaches.
Information composed from the following sites:
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