Buying vacant land is different than buying a house. Things that never come into discussion in a home purchase—such as access, easements, utilities, and land-use restrictions—become very, very important in a land purchase. Interested in buying vacant land in Coronado, CA? See our info on building in Coronado.
Know the Plan
When you buy a house, you have to decide what you want. The same process holds true when you buy vacant land. Once your search is narrowed, spend some time at the city’s planning and zoning department.
The first thing you need to look for is the county’s long-range land use plan. Some areas are designated for business, others for residential. Some for public use, such as parks and schools. It should also warn you if a garbage dump is set to become your new neighbor.
You’ll also want to check out any planned road developments. If you’ve ever wondered why people build nice houses next to six-lane highways, chances are they didn’t know the road was going to be there when they bought 10 or 20 years ago — and now there’s no way they can sell.
Find the Zone
Once you’ve identified specific parcels that interest you, find out how the property is zoned. Depending on how the area is zoned, your dream house may not be allowed. If the lot of interest is in a subdivision, ask to see the plat map along with the subdivision restrictions. Things to look out for include greenbelts and utility easements.
Identify the Restrictions
Subdivision restrictions will tell you how much control you have over the use of the property. (If the site is acreage, these issues are addressed in the deed restrictions or covenants.) The restrictions can cover everything from the kinds of pets you can have to whether you can park a boat in the driveway. If there’s a homeowner’s association, you need to find out how much the annual fees are and what they cover.
Also, find out whether membership in the homeowner’s association — and payment of the fees — is voluntary or mandatory. If it’s mandatory and you don’t pay up, the association can put a lien on your property and even foreclose it.
Land use restrictions, for the most part, are very good things. No one wants to build a beautiful new home and have a trailer park as a next door neighbor.
Two more important reasons to look at the plat and the restrictions are utilities and access. Does the site have municipal water and sewage or will you have to drill a well and install a septic system? The answer could mean thousands of dollars in construction costs. Determining access could help you avoid buying land you can’t get to.
Looking for Vacant Land for Sale in Coronado, CA or Greater San Diego?
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