Buying land is an exciting prospect. When you find just the right lot, you can almost imagine the endless possibilities for the home of your dreams. However, before you get too carried away daydreaming about your future home, there are 4 very important things you need to consider when buying land.
1. Elevation/Flood Plains – In the Myrtle Beach area, we get rain – and lots of it. Being near the ocean means heavy rain storms can form quite often. Tropical storms and hurricanes also dump quite a bit of water along the Grand Strand. With all of this water, floods are not uncommon. You might be able to score a bargain price on a land lot in or near a flood plain. However, the measures required to protect any structure you build from frequent flooding plus the cost of flood insurance can quickly devour any “savings” from that bargain price.
2. Utility Connections – Is the land you are considering already set up with connections to local utilities? Local utilities include water, sewer, gas lines, electricity and cable or fiber optics for internet, television and phone service. If the lot is not already set up with connections to these local utilities, the set-up cost of getting these services in place can be a hefty expense.
3. Zoning Ordinances – Many people believe that as long as the land they intend to buy is not within an HOA or covenant-controlled community, they can use the land however they want. Unfortunately, this is not exactly true because of a set of laws called zoning ordinances. Zoning ordinances are laws that define how you are allowed to use your land and what types of structures you are allowed to build. Depending on the zoning ordinances, that mother-in-law cottage you were planning to build in the back yard might not be doable.
4. Easements – Make sure you know about any and all easements for the land you want to buy. Easements give rights to another person or entity (such as a utility company) to use or cross your land. Easements also “run with the land”, meaning they transfer along with the deed to the property from one owner to another. Easements don’t end just because the ownership of the land has changed. A common example of an easement is an access road for a utility company to bury or access utility lines. It’s important to know of any easements on the land and the exact location of the easements. Why? Because even though you technically own the land, you are not allowed to block, build on or build over any easement. You can find out information about easements by searching public records, ordering an official survey of the land, or buying title insurance (then the title insurance provider researches this information).
While there are many other things to consider when buying land, this list of the top 4 things to consider are the essentials. These factors can quickly add unexpected cost to your land purchase, limit what you are allowed to do with your land and can prevent you from using part of your land due to pre-existing easements. Your Century 21 Broadhurst agent is your guide to finding land options that work for your needs.