If you'd rather build your own home than buy an existing one, then the first step is to buy land to build on. Unfortunately, this step is not as simple as you might assume. In order to ensure everything goes smoothly -- throughout the purchase process and later when you build the home -- follow these four tips.
Talk to residents in the area first.
When buying land, many people make the mistake of looking only at the land -- and not the community surrounding it. But just as with buying an existing home, finding out that you're a long drive from the thruway, in a bad school district, or near a high-crime area can sour the experience. Before you buy an empty lot, try knocking on the doors of a few people who live in the area. Ask if there are any issues you should be aware of or what they would change about the community. If you don't like the answers, it's time to look at land in another area.
Check the zoning requirements.
It would be terrible to buy land with the intention of building a home, only to find out that the land is only zoned for commercial or industrial use. So, check with the local zoning board to be sure the land is zoned residential before you buy. Also check on the zoning of the land surrounding the land you want to buy. You generally won't want to buy a parcel of land next to a big parcel of industrial land that could be built up with a factory in the next few years.
Assess the elevation.
In order to build on a piece of land, at least some of it must be flat! Flattening out hilly land is possible, but it can be extremely expensive. If a piece of land you love is not flat, then it's worth your while to have it looked over by a building team -- they can give you an estimate for the flattening service, and you can make a more informed purchasing decision from there.
Look into natural hazards.
Talk to the local building inspector or health department to make sure there are no natural hazards that could affect your land either now or a few years down the road. This could include toxic waste buried uphill from the land or a polluted stream that runs past your land. If there are any concerns whatsoever, you're usually best of not taking the risk and buying land elsewhere.
For help looking for land to purchase, contact a real estate agent in your area.