Lot Selection – 25 Tips – Part III
Do you need water at your site? Do you intend to drill a well? What will it cost? Is the water pure? Wells can be expensive. The water may be salty or have a high mineral content. Ask neighboring lot owners, if any, how their water is. Talk with local drilling companies and obtain cost estimates.
Buying any property without a registered survey is insane. Negotiate for the seller to pay for the survey. It is NOT unreasonable, since he/she should have to prove to you what you are going to get in the deal. Only fools buy on the HOPE principle. Don't "hope" that your lot line is over there or that you really have 10 acres and the creek is on your property.....
Is the access to your lot excellent? Do you have to build a long, expensive driveway? Do you have to cross a stream? Will a fire truck, or moving van be able to get close to the house? Maybe access is too good. Maybe the lot access is too close to an intersection. What about adjoining land? Will you have to give access across your lot to logging companies who will timber Federal Lands next to yours? Trust me, you wouldn't be the first.....
Common Roads - Undedicated
Do you have to share a common roadway or driveway with access to another lot or a group of lots? This can be a nightmare. What happens if you are the first to build and subsequent construction activity ruins the road or driveway? Who pays? What happens if you want to seal the blacktop and your neighbor doesn't?
These are what I call back lots. A narrow strip of ground allows you to get to and from the street. These lots can be mistakes. Utility trenches may end up beneath the drive. Your front yard may be in someone's backyard. I haven't seen a good one yet.
An easement is a legal permission slip, often permanent, which allows someone else to cross your land in a certain spot. BIG MISTAKE! Try to avoid lots that have easements. If you must have one, try to see if it can be on one edge of the property, not through the middle.
Yes, your lot may have mineral rights! There could be oil or some other commodity product such as gravel near or beneath your lot. A friend of mine found out that his country lot was going to be next door to a brand new gravel pit. Now that could really ruin your day....
Be sure to investigate the tax rate for your lot. Is it reasonable? How will improvements on the lot be taxed? If the land is currently zoned agricultural, it may have an artificially low rate. Once improved, you may lose the agricultural tax rate. Check with the local tax authority.
Guess what? Your fence might not be yours. In fact, your house might not be yours! It has happened. In fact it happened to me! Using stakes set by a surveyor, I once built a commercial building on someone else's land by 1 foot! It cost the surveyor $25,000 for a 2 foot by 100 foot piece of land! Encroachments can be expensive to fix. Attorneys almost always have to get involved to separate the legal issues. A survey performed before you buy will usually reveal them, but, as in my case, it is no absolute guarantee....