Sellers often take advantage of first-time buyers by neglecting to mention what’s wrong with the property. Upon signing that contract, all those encroachments and violations become your problem without you realizing it. Collecting the necessary documents and surveying your property will save you money and headaches in the long run.
Visit the property
One common mistake among buyers is that they purchase a plot of land without viewing it in person first. It’s not enough to look at pictures online—buyers need to see the property with their own eyes. An inspection will reveal flaws the pictures conveniently leave out, such as contamination or damage to the property. Inspect every inch of the property to make sure the seller isn’t shoving unwanted commitments onto you.
Review zoning restrictions
Every piece of land, whether it’s vacant or contains improvements, has restrictions outlining what it can or cannot be used for. Certain lots are reserved for commercial use, such as office buildings, warehouses and retail space. Other spaces are designated strictly for residential purposes, like building single-family homes and apartment complexes.
Buyers should never assume they know a lot’s zoning requirements. A site may seem obviously intended for building a house when it’s actually a public space for amenities like a community club house or swimming pool. Acquire zoning documents for all the properties you’re interested in, then determine which lot bests serves your goals.
Uncover rights and encroachments
Learn about potential easements on the property. An easement means the general public or select individuals have legal access to your site even though they didn’t purchase the property deed. Public infrastructure such as sidewalks, streets, parking lots and courtyards can sometimes indicate the presence of easements.
More importantly, buyers should be wary of potential encroachments. Encroachments are objects from an adjacent property that have crossed over or underneath a boundary line. Common examples of encroachments include trees, fences, pools, sheds, wires and utility lines. Someone else’s property could be encroaching on the lot you wish to purchase, or vice versa. Save yourself the future headache and don’t purchase land with encroachments.
Hire a surveyor
Too many property owners have misunderstood the boundaries of their lots. This has led to accidentally encroaching on another person’s property or having to deal with structures that belong to someone else. Before signing your name on the contract, hire a professional to survey the land. Surveying your property will clearly mark its dimensions so you know exactly how much space you’re working with.
A surveyor can also uncover flaws in the property that aren’t immediately apparent. Sellers might attempt to trap you in a deal without being transparent about the property’s pitfalls. Once you become the owner of a site, you’re responsible for any violations—even the ones you didn’t know about. Surveying your property will save you from legal trouble in the future.
If you’re in the market for a new plot of land, hire a professional surveyor from Bettersworth & Associates, Inc. With more than 60 years of experience under our belts, we’ll report accurate measurements on a piece of property so you can buy with confidence. A land survey will bring you one step closer to sealing the deal!
Categorised in: Property Survey