So, you’ve decided that you want to build your new home. Building a home is the best way to get precisely what you want and need. However, before you can start building your home, you’ll need to look for a lot for sale. Depending on your individual needs, the size of the lot that you need will vary. Whether you’re buying one acre or ten acres of land, we’ve compiled a list of the most important things you should know.
Determine whether the property is zoned for residential construction
When looking at lots for sale, you must be looking at lots zoned for residential construction. Most municipalities have by-laws that designate land for different uses. Some lots are reserved for agricultural uses, and some are explicitly reserved for commercial use. You need to know what’s restricted and permitted on the land you want to build. Otherwise, you could get hit with hefty fines, or the municipality may have the structure removed entirely.
Evaluate the surrounding properties and how they’re zoned
If there is a residential lot for sale, there may be a commercial lot for sale beside it or within proximity. It’s essential to look at how nearby properties are zoned to predict what your neighbourhood may look like as it’s developed. Suppose the property is zoned for multi-family residences. In that case, there could be apartments built in your area, and if it’s zoned for non-residential use, you may have businesses as neighbours.
Do your research on the area and the safety of your location.
When you’re looking to build a home for you and your family, ensure to do your research on the lot for sale and how safe it is. Does the area have high crime rates? Is it a high-traffic area? What kind of wildlife live around the property? Are you close to train tracks? What school district are you in? How close is the property to school, work, gyms, parks, etc.? How easy is it for someone to access your property? You should also find out whether your home is in a historic district. Some historical or heritage land requires specific community approvals for building and changes and has restrictions on what you build and how it’s built.
Water-related issues and considerations
Water is essential, but it can also do a lot of damage. Determine whether the lot for sale is in a flood plain and if there are any nearby streams or drain sewers. If your land is in a flood plain, you may have some restrictions and requirements for how to build your home. For example, you will probably have to build your home above the flood plain or have an above-ground foundation. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that you have flood insurance if your home becomes flooded.
Look for a lot for sale that works with your family’s current and future lifestyle needs.
What you need and want in a property will differ depending on what point of your life you’re in now and how you expect your future to look. However, it’s essential to consider how your location and area will impact you in the future. If this is your forever home, will it be able to accommodate your needs at an old age? If you have children, will you be close enough to schools and other recreational activities for them to partake in? How much space will you need in the future?
Check to see what utilities and services are available
Prices and quality of utility services vary in every area.
Examples of utilities to consider:
- Public transit
- Garbage and recycling pickup
- Postal and delivery service
Some newer developments may not have access to all utilities or have a weak signal compared to other areas. Utilities are essential to consider when looking at lots for sale, especially if they impact your quality of life.
Determine costs to prepare the site for construction
Some lots don’t always come ready and prepared for construction. You may have to remove dead or damaged trees, fill or remove dirt, and remove and clean up debris and landscape. It would be best if you got estimates for how much it will cost to do everything needed to prepare the site for construction.
Get a good look at your neighbours and future development plans for your neighbourhood.
Taking a good look at your neighbours’ homes and your future neighbourhood is another crucial aspect when looking at lots for sale.
Some things to consider include:
– Whether your neighbours are loud or have loud pets
– If a lot of children live in the area
– How well neighbours take care of their homes
– The future of the area (i.e., the age of the homes in the area, economic conditions of nearby businesses, how many homes are for sale, how new the area is, upcoming construction)
– What do the surrounding neighbourhoods look like, and what neighbourhoods do you have to drive through to get to your own
Don’t pay high premiums for views that aren’t secured
It can be very tempting to spend extra money on land with a fantastic view. However, you must do your research before you pay those high premiums. Just because your home would have a great view now doesn’t mean it always will. Take a look at the zoning in the area to see whether there’s a likelihood that they will start building a skyscraper that blocks your view entirely. You should always confirm that your view is secure and protected before paying big bucks for it. If the land isn’t protected, you could also consider buying extra land to protect it.
It’s always the least obvious things that cause the most problems.
When you’re looking at lots for sale, you’ll notice the most obvious things first – location, condition of the area, amenities, the view, etc. However, the unseen, small details often cause the most issues and cost the most money to resolve. Elements like subsurface water and soil conditions, environmental impacts and effects, and deed restrictions can often go overlooked. Always do extensive research about the area and type of land you’d like to build on, and don’t buy a property unless you’re sure you can make the changes you may want a need to make.