One of the greatest pleasures of life is building a home customized to your preferences on a piece of land that you chose. It’s an enriching experience to search for the right land, start from scratch, and see it come to life in front of your eyes. But it also comes with its challenges.
Whether you’re planning to buy land in the suburbs or deep in the country, there are certain things to keep in mind to avoid long-term problems. To help you out, here are five things to look for when buying land.
You should judge a location on several parameters that go beyond its aesthetic appeal. Sure, the view matters and that’s what will draw you in, initially. But it helps to have an objective analysis of other factors.
If it’s a place close to your current residence or in your hometown, you would know the area. Otherwise, you will have to research the growth prospects of the neighborhood. Are there any investments planned? Has the community been growing or are people leaving? These are questions that will shape the future of the place.
Most people form an opinion of the place they plan to buy depending on the weather at the time of their visit. If you intend to use the home as your primary residence, you’ll be experiencing the weather throughout the year. So, it helps to find out how cold it gets or how much rain the area receives.
For example, Mainlanders coming to Maui tend to view the place from the confines of their air-conditioned hotel rooms. But the place can get hot, humid, windy, or rainy, depending on the time of the year and the area you’re looking at. That will also increase your air-conditioning costs later on.
While working out the budget, what’s important is the amount of money you will be able to set aside every month if you’re taking out a loan. To begin with, remember that it’s not easy to get a loan to buy land. On top of that, the land will have to be “build-ready” for banks to be interested.
If there’s an existing structure on the land, however small it may be, keep in mind that you’ll be paying for that too. Even if you bargain your way out of it, demolishing it will be costly. Also, reselling land in the country (or the islands) will take longer and may not get you the desired amount if you’re in a hurry.
Outsiders planning to buy land in Hawaii should know that the islands are a “Good Funds” state. This means that the seller should have the money before they can complete the deal.
Before you sign on the dotted line, you should find out if the county or city authorities in the area will allow you to build a home. If so, you should know whether there will be any limits to the kind of construction you’ve in mind. Talk to your realtor to know more about land-use restrictions or zoning guidelines that may apply to your prospective location.
Buying land in Hawaii is different from the mainland as much of the land is owned by the federal or state governments. So, you’ll have to know whether the land falls under leasehold or fee simple.
5. Utility Services
The land should be well connected to receive all necessary utility services. You should check with your realtor to see the quality of the electricity, plumbing, telephone, and gas connections. If the place doesn’t have existing infrastructure, you’ll have to invest in order to get these basic amenities. This, of course, adds to your overall cost.
When you’re at the site, check for mobile phone coverage. Don’t take your realtor’s word for it if they say that it occasionally gets disrupted. If you can, talk to the area’s residents or businesses about coverage consistency.
The US housing market hasn’t been this active in a long time. With remote work getting regularized, there’s a rush away from the big cities. Now could be the right time to find your ideal space and build your dream home. A bit of planning and diligence at this stage will save you a lot of hassle later.