Buying land with or without an existing building on the premises is a big decision. You have so many things to consider before making a truly educated decision. Among the many factors you should be considering is how that specific plot of land was used in the past environmentally. What kind of chemical plants were nearby? Has it ever been used as agricultural land? These are just a few of the questions which can give you some answers that can protect you and your family from living in a dangerous environment. Chemicals have a tendency to seep into the soil, and can remain there for years – even decades. Doing extensive due diligence before making that purchase will save you some literal and metaphoric headaches down the road. The following is a quick guide of some very important things you need to know before pulling the trigger on a new piece of land.
This is a big one that many land buyers often ignore. Even if you think you have found that perfect plot of land to build you new home – close to everything you need and in a great school district – there may be some factors beneath the surface that are not quite as appealing. Contaminated waste can be living in the soil, and could make its way into your water supply or the foundation or your home (should you decide to build there). These chemicals could have come from a nearby chemical plant or from something previously done on that property. Even if there was an old building there, toxins like arsenic (found commonly in older lumber) may be in the soil.
You should have a complete environmental analysis done on your property in order to uncover any dirty history that your potential plot of land may be hiding. These histories are readily available, and places like Commonground can help get you started with finding the right surveyor. These assessments are highly recommended – while you hope for the best, they could uncover some dark secrets that you don’t want to be involved with.
This might be easy to overlook, but zoning is going to play a big role in your purchasing decision. Can that land be developed for a home? Is it recreational or classed for business? These are the types of questions that you should be asking from the get go. Most of this information can be found online, otherwise try your local government offices.
What Services Run There?
If you plan on building something on this property, do you have electric and water services available in that area? What about sewage? If these are not readily accessible, you may want to rethink this property.
It goes without saying that location is important. It might be the number one factor in determining whether or not you decide to buy a plot of land. Things that should go into the location discussion should involve how accessible you are to main roads, what type of industrial plants may be close by and how far from work/school you are. If you want to be a truly green home, you need to live closer to the action. Most of the energy a household is responsible for comes from transportation, so think twice about moving out into the far reaches of suburbia!
At some point during the purchasing process you need to have access to a professionally done survey. These will show you the exact boundaries of the property down to the inch. Surveys can be essential in resolving those annoying property disputes which everyone seems to deal with once or twice in their lives. If you want the law on your side, know your boundaries and you have nothing to worry about.
Floods or Other Disasters
Finally, how susceptible is that plot of land to natural disasters? Flooding is a big one, find out if there has been a history of flooded basements in that area. Depending on your location, you also may want consider looking at the risks from other potential issues like landslides or hurricanes.