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A lot of land can represent limitless possibilities: As real estate goes, lots are the closest thing to blank canvases you’ll find. By keeping the following tips in mind when buying a lot, you can find the canvas that best suits your vision.

1. Take Utilities into Account

When you’re assessing different lots, keep in mind that you may need to pay to set up utility infrastructure on the land. This may cost anywhere between a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on factors such as the soil type and permit requirements, among other price influences. This doesn’t mean you should avoid vacant lots as potential purchases—just that you should factor utility installation costs into your budget.

2. Regulations Matter when Buying a Lot

Before buying a lot, it’s important to understand what regulations will govern its use. For instance, in North Carolina, owners of forested property may need to obey particular local ordinances regarding waterways, flood-control measures, zoning, and other matters. You may be able to research certain regulations on your own, but it’s never a bad idea to consult with a real estate professional, either.

3. Know the Tax Laws

Property taxes are another financial factor to keep in mind. That’s true even if you’re still working, but budgeting is especially critical for retirees on a fixed income. Before you buy a lot, estimate how much you’ll need to pay in property taxes when the lot is in its finished state. One piece of good news here is that planning beforehand will help you avoid property-tax surprises later. Another piece of good news is that depending on your area, certain populations, such as veterans and seniors, may qualify for property tax relief.

4. Evaluate the Topography

Topography plays a huge role in how usable a lot will be. For instance, if you’re seeking land on which to build a small cabin and enjoy the outdoors, perhaps numerous hills and creeks won’t be a problem. In fact, creeks and hills might be enjoyable for fishing and hiking, and with a small home footprint, you may be able to work around features like that. But if your goal is instead to build a large, intricate home, topographical challenges may make a certain lot ill-suited for your version.

5. Get a Survey

Land surveys are a critical part of the lot-buying process. Among other benefits, a land survey will help you to identify property lines and meet certain mortgage and title requirements. Land surveys are also useful for avoiding neighborly disputes down the road: Removing the ambiguity over where people’s property starts and ends also removes a potential source of conflict. There are numerous subtypes of land surveys, with each meant for different situations, but a professional land surveyor can—and should—handle the process for you.

Trust Creekmore Realty Group

When buying a lot, careful evaluation is the key to making sure you end up with a purchase that fits your dreams. At the Creekmore Realty Group, we specialize in helping active adults find the right lot to build their dream retirement home. By picking the right land, you can enjoy watching those dreams come true!