Created on Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Updated on Monday, February 26, 2018
by Land Century
* Geology studies completed
* Utility availability
* Proper zoning in place
* Permits available (rare)
Finding these lots is possible, but a lot of work must go into the process. And there are also concerns that some of the criteria listed above may not be present. For example, in the ideal world, youll buy a property that has a permit already in place for a particular home. You may find permits are available for a three bedroom, two bathroom home.
You would still need a permit to outline the actual size and dimensions of your home and have this approved, but this is still much easier with planning permission already being in place.
Finding Land With Utilities
Running utilities to a lot of land can be very expensive. If the nearest utility line is far away, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars to have utilities ran to the property. While this may be a necessity for certain properties, its something that you want to avoid.
It's often best to search for a property with the following criteria:
* All utilities available.
* Utilities at the street.
When all utilities are available, this means that the land already has utilities ran to it. This is your absolute best option, and the least expensive. Utilities that are at the street may require you to pay to have the line ran to your house. This would definitely come with a premium, but it is much less expensive than if the utilities were not even ran at the street level.
Youll also have many alternatives:
Electricity: Solar energy may be an option if an electric line is not ran to the house.
Water: A well may be able to be put on the property, but your local jurisdiction will have restrictions in place. Youll need to consult with your local jurisdiction for more information.
Sewer: In the event that city water and sewer is not provided, you can have a septic system put in place.
All of these are alternatives to utilities, but they may not be the most viable option in your area. For example, solar energy may not be optimal if you live in an area where sunlight is not in abundance.
You cannot build a residential home in an area that is owned as commercial. Virtually every property you come across will have zoning information provided. You may be able to change the zoning of the land, but this is dependent on the city and layout of the land itself.
You would not be able to change land that was for commercial use to residential if it was in an industrial area.
But if your land is far from the city center or industrial center you may be able to have the land rezoned for a cost. Its an extra step in the building process, and one that may actually halt your building plans altogether.
Knowing about your land is of the utmost importance. You wouldnt want to build on a land that routinely floods, so it's important to find any geology studies on the property you can. In some cases, this will be provided to you, but your best option is to have a study done on your own. Its difficult to find properties with these studies already in place, but not impossible.
In some cases, you may be to find land where permit availability is present. This would mean that the former landowner had permits approved for a structure that they never actually built. A good example of this is in residential areas where a builder simply backs out of the project. The builder may sell the land, and the permits may be available to you so that you can build a home or structure in accordance with the permit. You will need to have the permit transferred to you, and you will need to look into the permit to see if the structure will meet your needs.
Having permits provided allows you to begin construction faster. Permits may be provided for:
* Construction additions or alterations
* Construction of new buildings
* Electrical permits
* Mechanical permits
Land use permits are very important, and include permits for:
* Building on land that falls within State Environmental Policy Acts.
* Conditional use.
* Shoreline construction.
Tree and vegetation removal permits may also be available, and will be essential if you need to clear land. Note: Every jurisdiction has their own permits in place that you will need to consider.
Putting It All Together
There are some things that youll be able to control and not control with planning permission. Your goal is to:
1. Determine if the land is owned for your particular use: residential or commercial.
2. Determine if utilities are available. This will be listed in a property's description. If utilities are not available, youll need to determine what permits youll need to run the lines, and the cost.
3. Geology studies are not normally available, but you may get lucky and find that a recent study has been conducted. Most jurisdictions will have information on flooding areas and major concerns that your land may face.
4. Actual building permits are difficult to come by, but you may find a property that was being planned to be constructed and be able to use these permits to your advantage.
Another thing to consider is the land layout itself. If the land is heavily treed, youll need to clear the land, which requires a permit in some states and cities. Permits may have been granted for utilities, such as electric or water, which are also very helpful.
I would also recommend considering road access. Does a public road lead to the land, or are there easements in place that allow you to reach your property through a private road? All of these must be considered so that you can move your building project along smoothly.