Land Buyer Beware

Real Estate Agent with Real Living Wareck D'Ostilio Real Estate

I work with many builders and investors who look to purchase land. For the past 3 years, I've noticed an increasing trend that is very concerning. As a realtor, when I list a piece of land, I am able to classify it as either raw land or an approved building lot. By definition, a raw land is a piece of land that has to have tests performed in order to get a building permit. An approved building lot SHOULD be defined as a piece of land which has all of the testing performed and (where applicable) a septic design submitted and approved. However, recently I have seen many pieces of land listed as approved building lots which do meet all zoning regulations but also have missing pieces. For instance, I just saw a lot that had a septic design drawn by a reputable engineer, but it was yet to be approved by the town. Also, many towns have strict regulations regarding drain water management. Drain water management means that there needs to be an approved method to route water off the roof of the house and away from the foundation and street. This should be simple enough, if the system is designed and approved you should be all set, correct? Actually, the system is designed based on the actual foundation footprint of the house. Most lot approvals are based on a generic foundation, not the one that you would actually build. So, if you change the footprint, you must re-apply for the drain water management permit again.

So, land buyers beware, if you are looking to build a house, make sure you work with a realtor who is well versed in land development and make sure you have a builder and architect involved before you put an offer in on the land!


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Joe Cafasso

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