Onward to Buying Land! Which land to build on, where, and how to find it? These are some of the most important decisions you have to make. Now you have to change your thinking about the land your house sits on. Let me elaborate. We are accustomed to buying a house as close as we can to work, schools and all the conveniences we like. The neighborhoods that are conveniently located are generally planned communities. These planned communities are constructed by land development companies that slice up the real estate into sections for general contractors to build on.
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Many of these communities have restrictions and codes that are not Owner Builder friendly, and the cost of the property may also not be friendly to your budget. My wife and I spent many months looking for property before buying land that we built on. I am not going to minimize the effort this takes and the Research involved.
For those of you in a metro area our process may help. Many of you have to consider work and schools as we did when we were building our home, if not you may want to skip ahead.
We were new to the Metro area and were not accustomed to the heavy traffic and the enormous urban sprawl. This made it difficult for us to have a real sense of where we should look for land. We first split the Metro area into north, south, east, and west. Of course we had to be near a major highway or interstate to travel in and out. We then decided on the two general areas that we liked the most. North and West were in the running. We then did something that may seem a little strange: we drove to and from work during rush hour from both areas to see how long it took and how crazy it was.
North was out, too hard to get where we needed to go. So we went West and defined our search. For those of you that have great mass transit this would be of course a different project, but you get the general idea. So on to some more considerations!
We all have priorities and one of them usually is cost. Buying Land is no different you have to make a decision what is most important. We narrowed our choices down to 5 neighborhoods. The top of the list was of course the most expensive. This community had it all and it came with a price. The price was a high monthly maintenance fee and higher taxes.
Let's talk about fees for a minute. If I can give you one piece of advice when looking at property it is get the list of restrictions and covenants and yes, read them. YUK! This is a boring project but it will reveal what you really need to know about a community before buying land in it. For instance our number 1 choice had a clause in their covenants that at any time the majority of the landowners voted on any improvements needed to be made to the community then the community would share the cost of the project. At face value this does not sound bad. When you read the fine print the developer of the community had 51% voting rights until the majority of the property was sold. What does this mean? Good question! Any time he wanted to add something he could just write it up and send us the bill! OUCH! So this meant more fees. Look before you leap: especially when you are buying land.
Another major consideration is, as we have all heard Location, Location, Location. If you move every 3 to 5 years, like the average American, you need to make sure you build in an area with good resale value. We choose an area which in 5 years is projected to be in the suburbs. Right now it is considered country, but the city is growing fast our way. We are also close to a major highway. No! Not on top of one, but within striking distance.
I jumped way ahead of myself, but you get the general idea. One very important thing we did prior to buying land after we had a general idea about where we wanted to build, was we found a realtor and let them show us the areas that fit our needs. There is no better asset than an experienced realtor in your area. They can tell you more, and narrow your search down faster than any other resource. You have a unique situation and need to find the best fit so do your Research. Below I have listed excellent resources for finding a Realtor in your area.
Buying land can get complicated, so use the right tools. The search sites I have listed here are free. Remember what we say
about Research! Find as many sources of good information as you can.
For more Information On Buying Land Go to the Buying Land Knowledge Center.
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