A return client asked me to accompany him on a lot inspection. He's considering constructing a new family home and wanted a second opinion on his lot selection. As a no-charge service I accompanied him to have a look. The area was a new sub-division on a hill. Here's the investigation process I went through with the buyer.
A site walk-through is useful is for visual clues of micro-issues:
(1) Unstable soils - look for signs of erosion, soil movement, sloping trees.
(2) Groundwater - any springs, ponds, soggy ground, marsh vegitation?
(3) Over excavation & blasting potential - stones, rocks or boulders visible?
Review the developer's documentation package for macro-issues:
(a) Geotechnical report - will the foundations be straight-forward or complex?
(b) Environmental site assessment - any legacy issues such as being sited on reclaimed land from a former industrial plant?
(c) Underground and overhead right-of-ways - is there an easement allowance for a future high voltage transmission line next to the lot line?
(d) Restrictions - every subdivision will have accompanying design limitations, fees and special charges - will your dream home and budget fit the regulations?
(e) Zoning - if there is agricultural, commercial or industrial zoning nearby, will you be able to live with the associated sounds, smells, traffic and visual impact?
Building your dream home, from scratch, on a lot of your choice, is certainly a special experience. Just be sure to do all your homework in advance!