The price of housing is going up every year, and a lot of people choose to buy land on which they either build their house or park it if it is a mobile home. The price of land has increased in the past couple of years, but it is nowhere near the ridiculous price increase of housing.
The most common mistake when buying land is buying land in a bad location as this will determine what kind of house you can build, most areas will have restrictions when it comes to the size of the house and what kind of alternative house you can build. Not knowing the zoning of the land before purchasing is a massive mistake as the land might not even have zoning for residential or mixed use which allows you to build a house.
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Buying a piece of land comes with its fair share of pros and cons, however, even small mistakes can cost you in the long run. No matter where you want to buy the piece of land there will be some rules, laws, and restrictions which you have to follow. Even if you are in the middle of nowhere and your closest neighbor is 50 miles away, these rules will still apply to you. Some rules and restrictions are not enforced, only to come and bite you in the ass when you least expect them.
Do not buy a piece of land just because it is cheap, instead make a list of requirements, and only consider buying land that fulfills your most basic requirements. If you are interested in buying off grid land then check out my recent article ( Top 12 Secrets ) To Buy Off Grid Land & Property.
Buying Land In A Bad Location
The first mistake that most beginner land buyers do is to buy a piece of land in a bad location. Not all locations are equal, and you and your family do have some basic needs like access to a hospital, stores, and so on. If you want to buy a piece of land to live off the grid then you will have to consider if the location is good for growing crops, and for generating power with solar panels. As I have previously mentioned, make a list of what your goals are with the piece of land and only consider buying land that fulfills these conditions. If you want to know what are your toilet options for off grid living then check out my recent article Off grid toilet options ( Top 6 ).
Not Knowing The Zoning Of The Land
Zoning determines how you can actually use the land, large plots of land will have several zonings, some for residential some for mixed-used, some for agricultural, and so on. If the plot of land doesn’t have any zoning for residential or mixed use then you can not build your home there. On the other hand, if your land also has some agricultural zoning you can actually rent it out to a local farmer and make a small profit.
Not Knowing The Restrictions Of Housing Types
Not knowing what kind of home you are actually allowed to build on the piece of land can be devastating if you have already bought the land. In fact, most people that are new to buying land never even think about what kind of home they are allowed to build. If you are planning to build a tiny house, modular home, manufactured home, or any kind of alternative housing you have to know if you are even allowed to build it on the land.
If you have found the piece of land through a real estate agent then make it clear what kind of alternative home you would want to build on the piece of land, they will usually know if you are allowed or not. If you want to buy the piece of land directly from the seller then you will have to check with the local county officials. If you want to know how to prepare yourself to live off the grid then check out my recent article How to prepare to live off the grid ( In 14 Easy Steps ).
Not Having Utilities Brought To The Piece Of Land
Not having the utilities brought to the piece of land will end up costing you a lot of time and a lot of money. If the utilities are not brought to the property then you can use it as a bargaining chip to lower the price of the land. In most states, you are required to have your house connected to utilities, at least sewage, especially as not a lot of areas allow composting toilets. So if you are looking to buy a piece of land and live off the grid, then you will have to know the laws and restrictions which do apply to that piece of land.
Not Having The Mineral Rights Of The Land
Laws regarding mineral rights are different in almost every state, owning the land doesn’t necessarily mean that you own the mineral rights. Taking ownership of the mineral rights can take a fairly long time, in some states these rights pass on automatically to the buyer after 10 years, but only if the mineral rights have not been used by the previous owner. Now you might think that this is not a big deal but if somebody else owns the mineral rights to your land they can mess with you.
Not Knowing The Covenant And HOA Rules
One of the most costly mistakes that you can make when buying a piece of land is not knowing the local covenant or HOA rules. Even if you are in the middle of nowhere there are some rules that you have to follow. These rules can be enforced no matter how old they are, and even if others are breaking these rules that doesn’t mean that you as a newcomer to the area will be allowed to do so. Make sure to ask the seller or the real estate agent what rules there are for the land and think about how it limits the development of the land and how much it will actually cost you.
Not Checking The Land In Different Seasons
Not checking the land in different seasons can be a costly mistake especially if you have picked a specific spot for your home and if you want to grow crops as well. Some areas of the land will naturally hold more water, and if you start growing crops here then I have bad news for you. Even if you have already bought the land, and if you can afford the time to not touch it for a year then I highly recommend you to visit the land in different weather and in different seasons.
Not Making The Soil Compaction Test
The soil compaction test will determine where you will actually be able to build your home, and not doing it can be a costly mistake. Not all dirt is equal, some soil is simply not fit to be built upon, while others are excellent for it. In ideal circumstances, the seller or the real estate agent has already done these tests and they will provide them to you, if not then you will have to hire a licensed company to do the soil compaction test.
Road Access To The Property
You have to find out who owns the road access to the property and if you are allowed to actually use it. If you do not figure out this information before buying you might find yourself not being able to access your land. You can find this info from the title office, although in most cases the real estate agent will also know this info. If the road accessing your land goes through a private property then you will have to talk with the owners of the road.
- Make sure to check the zoning of the land before purchasing, especially if it is a big plot.
- Try to avoid areas that have HOA, especially if you want to build alternative housing.
- Make sure to do a soil compaction test as this will determine where you will be able to build on the land.