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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Some Factors When Buying Land

Zoning Requirements

Here you need to check with the local authorities and determine the zoning ordinances. You should also find out if you are allowed to construct the type of house that you have in mind. The future is very important; therefore, you should ask whether there are plans to improve the infrastructure in the area. For example, you should enquire whether there are plans of constructing airports and shopping centers.

Natural Hazards

You should contact the authority in the area and obtain a natural hazard disclosure. The disclosure will tell if the land is ideal for building. As rule of thumb you should stay away from a land that is prone to natural hazards.

When determining the natural hazards in the area you should also find the elevation of the land. If the land is located near a hill you should determine the chances of the land moving. Remember that the slab of your house can easily crack if the land is unstable.

If the land is good, but near water bodies you should consider constructing your building using a raised foundation. You should also ensure that you get flood insurance.

Utilities

For you to live a comfortable life you need to have utilities in your home. One of the most important utilities you should have is water. Remember that you can’t dig wells in some areas. To be on the safe side you should determine the depth of your water table and find out how difficult it is to dig a well.

Electricity is also very important. If the area doesn’t have power you should determine how expensive it will be to bring it to your home.

You should also consider the sanitation in the area. If you can’t hook up to a sewer you should do your calculations and find out how costly it will be to install a septic system.

Get info about Property Easements

Easements are one of those seldom thought-of items that when they do rear their ugly head can be a source of frustration and even litigation. The right of a third party-a person or entity-to access and/or use land that you own for a specific purpose, easements come in many varieties of scale and impact. Some are minor, such as a neighbor needing part of your driveway in order to gain entry to his yard; others, falling under the term “easement appurtenant,” could be as potentially disruptive as a beach access road or path open to the public crossing over your property.

UTILITY EASEMENTS

Among the most common property easements are those held by utilities and the Department of Transportation. Such easements allow power companies to install and maintain towers and power lines and entitle the DOT to expand a road and replace water pipes as the need arises. Property owners can still utilize this portion of the land as long as their use does not impede the easement holder’s ability to use its easement. Erecting a non-permanent fixture such as a fence is permissible, while putting in a garage or other type of permanent structure will be considered to unduly interfere with the rights of the easement holder.

THE BURDEN ON THE PROPERTY OWNER

Regardless of the type of easement, property values could suffer because of the potential for unsightliness and inconvenience. In addition, easements don’t typically come with expiration dates, so even as a new owner of a property you’re still inheriting the previous owner’s responsibility to observe the easement holder’s rights and privileges. It’s also important to note that no matter the percentage of land under an easement, property owners are still obligated to pay taxes on the entire parcel.

HOW TO FIND EASEMENT INFORMATION ON A PROPERTY

Given the potential headache an easement can become, it’s crucial that you’re fully aware of any restrictions and requirements tied to a property before proceeding with a sale. Thankfully, there are several options available to you in order to determine the number and type of existing easements.

If you are purchasing a home, typically you would obtain title insurance along with that purchase. As part of the title insurance process, a title company conducts a search to ensure that the title is legitimate and will also generate a report that details any and all issues associated with the property, including easements, outstanding mortgages, liens, judgments or unpaid taxes.

If there is a suspected issue concerning easements on your property you can hire a title insurance company, or private title searcher, to perform a search for easements on the property in question. Depending on the complexity of the search, they may charge a fee for their services, but a good title company will provide you with a comprehensive report.

The deed to the property is another source of information and will have the easements listed and defined as part of its legal description. If a copy of the deed isn’t readily accessible you can obtain one from the county clerk or recorder. Be sure to have the address, parcel number, and current property owner’s name when making the request.

Similarly, the county or city zoning/mapping department is often in charge of keeping records of surveys and plot maps. These documents will contain information on a specific property’s easements, including the exact measurements of the portion of the property considered the easement.

Using Land Wisely

There are a few ways you can utilize your land wisely. One way right off the bat is as a home builder; when you have purchased some land for this purpose, do some homework. Find out if the people who would be buying the homes prefer a development where the houses are large but on a small plot of land; or would they pay more for a customized house on a large piece of property. This knowledge will help you determine what kind of homes to build; and maybe if you should include features like a man-made lake or a big clubhouse.

These days entirely self-sufficient communities are being built. This is where you can live, work, shop, and participate in recreational activities within the boundaries of the community. Such places are especially popular with retirees and senior citizens. Knowing what kind of a community people want to live in will definitely help you develop your land wisely. Then it will prove to be a fantastic investment for you.

In another smart use of the land you can find property acquisitions that will allow you to construct commercial buildings. This is a very good move. People need places to work, places to shop, places to go for sporting events or cultural activities, even places to study and do research for school or for a job – like libraries. Again, find out the needs of the townspeople in the land you bought. Then plan a project that they can benefit from and improve the financial well-being of that town.

An entirely different way of wisely using land is to leave it in its natural state and develop it just enough for people and wildlife to visit. We’re talking about places such as national parks and forests; or land that includes a body of water – like a natural lake or a small pond or even a fountain or a waterfall. All living creatures great and small, animal or human can enjoy such land. Maybe you own a piece of property near an ocean or an even bigger lake that contains a beach. Think of what a wonderful thing a private or public beach can be for local residents and out-of-town visitors alike. This is a wonderful use of both land and water. While they are there they are likely to be able to observe water birds and fish and other types of creatures that inhabit a beach.

Yes, there are many ways an owner of some land can develop it in a wise manner. All it takes is some research and patience; as it will not be an overnight project. However, if you are prepared every step of the way, one day many, many people will get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. With this advice in mind, go ahead and invest in some land. Think of all the people that did this before you. You will realize that you too can succeed in using your land wisely.

All about Land Purchase Considerations

  • What is the cost of the land? If I pay $1,000,000 for 10 acres to build a shopping center does that cost fit within my budget? Or is $500,000 the most I can pay and still have a profitable project?
  • Does the location work for the intended use? For example if someone is trying to build a convenience store is the site in a high traffic area? Or if someone wants to build expensive homes is the location suitable for million dollar homes or is it too close to commercial uses?
  • What jurisdiction is the land located in? The City Limits? Is it in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) of the City? Is it in the County? The jurisdiction that the property is located in will dictate which rules and regulations need to be followed. It might be advantageous to be in a particular jurisdiction (City A vs City B) rather than another. There may also be state and federal laws that will impact the property as well.
  • If the property is in the City, what is the zoning category assigned to the property? The zoning category dictates the land use allowed on the property. If a property doesn’t have zoning or if a zoning change is to be requested then that will add to the time and cost. Something to keep in mind is that zoning change requests are not always approved.
  • Deed restrictions are private agreements and restrictions specific to the land in question. They are noted in the deed, and restrict the use of the real estate in some way. Deed restrictions can be attached to property whether it is zoned commercial or residential and are in addition to local, state and federal rules. Deed restrictions can be more restrictive than other governing rules.
  • Have utilities been extended to the site? Utilities would include water, wastewater, electricity, natural gas, telephone, and cable television. Water is the most important. Water and wastewater are typically the most expensive utilities to extend to a property. There are other ways to get water service such as drilling a well or for wastewater constructing a septic system. However these solutions also involve ongoing maintenance and a limited lifespan.
  • Is any portion of the property in a floodplain? If so then the build-able or develop-able area of the property will be reduced. This in turn typically will reduce the value of the property.
  • What are the topographic conditions of the land? Is it flat or is there slope to the land? The more steep the slope the more it will cost to develop the land because of the necessary cutting and filling of the soil. In general flat land is preferred although a hillside location for a home or office can provide a very nice view.
  • Is there roadway access to the property? If so is there an existing driveway and curb cut in place or will this have to be permitted and constructed? How likely is it that a permit can be obtained at this location or is there already a driveway nearby which might diminish the chances? Is the roadway in a state of disrepair? If so then what are the chances that the roadway will be repaired and how might this affect my planned use?
  • An easement is a legal right to use another’s land for a specific purpose. Are there any easements on the property that might restrict or otherwise unduly affect my ability to improve the property? Examples of easements include public utility easements which allow utility providers to install and maintain utilities. Easements can also be the means of providing access to properties that do not otherwise have roadway frontage.