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Searching for Paradise: 5 Things to Ask When Looking for Property

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

When looking for your piece of the world there are many different aspects to finding the perfect spot. Use these 5 questions to help find the perfect parcel for you.

Wide open land and sky

From our experience, finding a parcel is much more involved than finding a house to call home. When you are looking to purchase a home, there are certain things that you already think about. Do the toilets flush? How difficult will it be to heat or cool? Is there an HOA? With land, there are different factors to consider, such as if your property has access, is it in a spot that has drinkable water, how much are the taxes, and what is the parcel zoned as.

It is very important to realize that purchasing property is a commitment to the good the bad and the beautiful. It is about the possibilities for the future while respecting what is.

When going through the following questions, it is important to keep in mind that for everything there is a solution. However, making compromises on these questions will affect your life on the parcel for as long as you are there.

1 - Is the lot accessible?

land with roads

One of the most important things to ensure when you are looking at a property is access. Many plots of land are surrounded by other parcels without bordering a street or papered road. If the parcel you are looking at is "landlocked" you have to remember that

to reach it, you will need to travel through someone else's lot to reach yours.

For me, a landlocked parcel is a deal-breaker. Getting to your property is the whole point. Once you have to rely on someone else to allow you to access it, it just adds more hassle to the whole experience. Parcels that do not border a road are usually also farther from utilities that may be brought in in the future.

If going through someone else's parcel isn't a deal-breaker, some questions to think about are:

- What if your neighbor hasn't put in the road to get to your parcel yet? Are you willing to put in the expense of adding access to his parcel as well? Will you ask for reimbursement for a portion of the cost through their property?

- Who will be responsible for maintaining the road? Especially if you are in an area with rain that can cause potholes on dirt roads more frequently and can wash out sections.

Your realtor or the listing agent can help to answer any questions about access to the parcel.

2 - Are there utilities and if there aren't what will it take to get them?

electrical lines and pole

Utilities are another large consideration when purchasing a property. The main things to be concerned about are water, sewer, and electricity. If you work from home, cellphone reception and internet access would also be a consideration.

From state to state and county to county there are different requirements for utilities. Some could require you to purchase water rights before drilling a well. Some require you to be hooked up to the electrical grid to have solar power.

Here, your realtor will be of immense help. Ask the questions! Make sure that you understand how much effort it will take as well as the financial amount. It doesn't hurt to go quote shopping before you purchase a parcel on septic installation, well drilling, electrical set-up, and anything else you think you might need.

3 - What is the zoning of the parcel?

Zoning is important for your parcel. It determines what you are allowed to do with it and certain restrictions on business types. When purchasing land, you are usually able to find the parcel number or APN. With this number, you can go to the county assessors' website for wherever the parcel is to see past property taxes, zoning, if it is in a flood zone, or any other information that is available to the county assessors office.

4 - How far is it from civilization?

cowboy looking over land

Whether it is an acre or 50, the proximity to grocery shopping, home improvement stores, and other amenities is something to think about. While being close to town is important for some, the remoteness of a location might appeal to others.

Some considerations before you decide you want to move as far away from civilization are:

- It will cost more to transport materials. Whether for building or just groceries, it may take longer to get there or you may incur additional fees.

- The more remote, the more you will have to think about your utilities and the solutions needed to make them possible.

- Medical care, as well as emergency response, could be a concern for living remotely.

5 - What is the history of the area?

Any area that you are considering purchasing property will have a unique history and story to tell. Some are incredible, full of gold miners and wild horses, and others have some less glamorous histories of nuclear testing and uranium mining.

Before committing to any property, you must do your research to ensure that you are not going to have polluted drinking water, be living on top of an old mine that might collapse, or potentially be an old burial ground. Most realtors will be upfront about any potential hazards, however, they also might not know everything about the location. Quick searches, crime maps, news articles, and weather reports/research are all valuable in making your final decision on this purchase.

Remember, this is about you and your future and what will make you happy. However, if you aren't satisfied with the land after, the best thing about it is that you can always sell and move in the future! To avoid any regret, it is very important that you are honest with yourself when answering the questions above and really understand what you want and not try to make the shoe fit.

If it is right, you will feel it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us any time!

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