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General items to consider when buying land.

These thoughts on what to look for when buying a home site are a broad brush look.  See future posts for more detailed thoughts.

  • COST TO DEVELOP THE LOT –
    • UTILITIES – Are the utilities you want (power, cable, etc.) on the road beside your lot?  If not, how much will it cost to bring them to the lot?  Are there any extra fees that must be paid to the utility for the line extension up the road beside the land you are thinking of buying?
    • DRIVEWAY – Unless exceedingly long or have issues with wetlands, ledge, etc, the driveway cost shouldn’t be that much extra, but you should verify this.  Also, I have found that plowing a longer driveway doesn’t cost much more that plowing a shorter one because much of that cost is gigging back and forth in front on the house.
    • TYPE OF SOILS – Has there been a passing soils test near the location that your want to build?  Is there ledge?  (Some ledge is generally not too bad, but if you have to blast to put in the septic system and utilities plus the full foundation, you best be sure to know what the cost will be before buying.)  Will there be problems with water – either drainage or water table?
  • VIEWS – If views are what draw you to the lot, be sure you will still have that view 5, 10 or more years from now.  Depending on whether you are looking horizontally, downward or upward – generally figure you need to have 75 feet or so of vertical elevation to keep a view.  Some sellers cut the trees on land you will not be buying so it looks like a good view only to find later you can’t keep the view.  Protect yourself by making sure you own the land that affects the view or have an easement to maintain the view over that land.
  • PRIVACY – What is your need for privacy?  If it high, ensure that it can be maintained when someone builds next to your land.
  • ONGOING COSTS – Are there Association fees?  If so, how much are they.  How much are the taxes?
  • PROTECTION – In much of Maine, there are very few zoning laws.  If you want to maintain the value of your land, are there reasonable deed restrictions and by-laws to protect you while not causing you to spend more than your want to.  Are those restrictions enforced?  If you don’t want anyone telling you what to do, be sure there are not any covenants or deed restrictions.

Check our other posts and future posts for other helpful hints.

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