Pitfalls to Avoid when Buying a Lot to Develop


Buying a lot and building on it can be awfully exciting. In essence you’re turning a blank canvas into a work of art. Whether you’ve built a hundred houses or this is your first there are a lot of things to be mindful of when buying a lot for development. Preston Woods and Associates will help you navigate the many loopholes, pitfalls and just plain old confusion of purchasing land for development. We’ll help you find your way through the following:

What are the deed restrictions in your area?

Deed restrictions are different in each area but do have some commonalities. Basically deed restrictions are the limits that are placed on the land. You may only use the land for the activities that are spelled out in the real property records of the county in which you plan to build. The purpose of deed restrictions is to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood, usually by keeping out commercial or industrial development. Deed restrictions usually last for up to 30 years with many automatically renewing.  Deed restrictions can be obtained from the county clerk of the county you wish to build.

Are there any ROW (Right of Way) issues?

ROW or Right of Way refers to the land area that has been acquired for a specific purpose. For example, a utility company acquires certain rights to build and maintain a utility line along the property. ROW is often confused with an easement which is the permanent right authorizing the utility the use of the land.  Easements are generally perpetual so if you purchase land you’ll want to know about any easements and right of ways in effect.

Views of the property

What is the best placement for your building? You’ll want to consider all angles, and any obstructions to the view when plotting your land. We can help find the most advantageous position for your building.

What is the value of the lot?

Not just the cost of the lot but what is the value of the lot. Things to consider include the neighborhood – is it up and coming or has it seen better days? If the property is multi family dwelling is there a decent walk score? Is the property near mass transit? Consider all the amenities that make the location valuable.

Is it in the flood plain?

The flood plane changes so you’ll need to be sure you have the proper permits if you’re building in one. (I need more about this, not sure how to word it properly)

Is it in an historical district?

If the lot you’re interested in is in an historic district there will be additional restrictions and rules you’ll need to follow when designing and building.  From type of dwelling down to the color of the paint on the exterior – if you’re building in an historic district these things matter – and we can help you find the information necessary to stay within those constraints.

Is there a minimum lot size?

This is important to know if you plan on building multiple units or you plan to split the lot up. We can help you figure this out.

Is there a block face?

A block face is a dedicated setback. This can change neighborhood to neighborhood and block to block. Finding this information can be challenging at best but can be a disaster if you don’t know. You don’t want to break ground before you understand about the block face in your area.

As you can see there are a lot of things to know when choosing a lot to purchase. It isn’t just about location (though, that is certainly important). We’ll work with you to make sure you have your ducks in a row before you sign on the dotted line.

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