That land is perfect for our home! Now what?

So you have always dreamed of buying that slice of paradise where you can create your dream home/farm/vacation spot?

If you are considering buying raw land, read on…

Step #1 – FINDING THE LAND
Once you’ve identified the place you think is perfect, then the research really begins.
First, know how you are going to use the land.  Build a dream home?  Family compound? Your own private campground?
Checking for any environmental issues can impact your decision, too.  You may want to reconsider digging a well in an area that has known environmental impacts (leaking gas tanks, chemical contamination, etc.).
What do you want to place on the land?
If you know you want to build a structure on the land, you will need to know the steps it will take to make sure the land even accommodates the structure.  Most land will accommodate structures, but unless you have unlimited funds at your disposal, getting these items checked out during the (very long, please, for your protection) Due Diligence time period is critical.
Has a soil evaluation been performed? 
This will tell you how suitable the land is for a septic system; preferably a reasonably priced one. There are 8-10 characteristics that are inspected to see if it is suitable.  You need to know this to determine how many bedrooms the home can accommodate.  The evaluator will check the landscape position.  Is it upslope, side slope, low-lying?  Water can collect in the low-lying areas.  What are the set-backs?
Almost any lot can handle a septic system but areas such as the Triassic Basin or coastal areas require more sophisticated systems which can cost up to $40,000 vs. $5000-$6000!
A Survey & Appraisal, please.
You will want to have a survey performed so you know where your property lines really end, and if there are any easements or encroachments on the property.
Find out about oil, gas and mineral rights.  Are they conveying with the land, or have they been severed?
Of course, you will need an appraiser to look at the land and tell you what the current market value is.  Appraisers typically can go back 12-18 months to find comparables for land vs. 6 months for residential real estate.
These are the reasons you want to ensure that you have a long Due Diligence period (120 days or more!).  By doing the work upfront, you will always have the piece of mind that the land you thought was your little slice of paradise, really is!
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