That famous American cowboy, humorist, columnist, commentator, performer and philosopher Will Rogers once said, "Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff."
If you are thinking about buying a lot to build a home, here are some "must-dos" to consider before you buy it:
Decide on the community. Think about the kind of community that you want to live. What it looks like now, what it might look like in the future, its features, its amenities, its location to schools, shopping or your nearest neighbor.
Check the lot from satellite view. With technology from Google Street View you can see what's next door or a couple of miles away. That great-looking lot might be too close to the storage facility or that power grid a few streets down the road.
Determine property conditions. Do three site visits and walk the property (on a dry, sunny day; when it's raining; and right after a heavy rain). Make sure there's good runoff and no standing water. Also check for no grass or dead areas, which might mean environmental problems.
Confirm land infrastructure and utilities. Check if there is city water and sewer, or if you need a septic system, and compare all fees and costs. If television and internet are important, review the available cable or dish options for that property.
Review community and site restrictions. Check property use restrictions and environmental factors to make sure that you can build the kind of home you want. Check POA (Property Owners Association) covenants, rules and regulations relating to construction guidelines.
Rely on professionals. Ensure that you work with a real estate agent or broker who has local knowledge and expereince in representing potential home site buyers. Speak to your architect and local home builder and ask them to walk the lot before you buy it.
Get a builder involved. Interview a few local potential builders to learn about the kind of homes that would be perfect for that lot. Are you looking for a stock house plan with limited options or a fully customized home? There are some home builders who specialize and have particular expertise in certain developments.
Larry Stoller is a broker and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. Larry@ RealEstateFive.com or www.RealEstate Five.com