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5 Things to Look for When Inspecting Land


Land inspection is a critical process for buyers and investors. It helps determine the potential value of a property and identify any safety hazards that may exist.

A land inspector will begin with a visual inspection. They will examine the soil, vegetation, and topography of the property.

When buying land, it's essential to get any information in writing. Verbal agreements and communications carry very little weight in a real estate transaction.

Look at the Survey

Like a home inspection, land buyers like SellLand should survey before buying a plot. A survey will verify the property line boundaries and reveal any encroachments or restrictions. This includes restrictions due to environmental conditions such as wetlands, water frontage, steep slopes, or historical or cultural sites.

A good survey should also include the land's ability to support a residential building site. 

In addition, a thorough inspection of the land will reveal any issues that would impact the cost of building. For instance, if the property was the site of an old gas station or auto body shop, soil tests may reveal contaminated material and prevent the building of a home.

Look at the Subdivision

A land inspection is a good idea even when buying a new home in a subdivision. It can reveal many important things when building on your block, such as the cost to connect services, any environmental tests that might limit your build options (for example, soil contamination from former gas stations and auto body shops), and covenants.

If the property is in a subdivision, check with the town clerk to see if additional regulations are beyond those outlined in the zoning ordinance. It would be best to have a pest inspector inspect the property to ensure it is free of infestations by wood-boring insects and dry rot. In addition, it is a good idea to find out about any restrictions due to wetlands, water frontage, steep slopes, or historical or cultural sites.

Look at the Boundaries

A real estate survey will identify the property's boundaries. Knowing the boundaries is essential if you plan to build on the land. It's also helpful to know whether neighbors infringe on the property, either intentionally or not.

Therefore, a purchaser should inspect the land to determine the likely boundaries and whether prescriptive or adverse possession easements burden it.

Look at the Maps

The local area where the land is located has many issues that must be considered. These include the distance to schools, shops, and medical care. The zoning and environmental issues in effect may also impact your plans to build. 

It is essential to inspect any map derived from spatial data visually. This is a necessary first step and is an essential part of the accuracy assessment. However, more than a visual inspection is required to conclude the accuracy assessment. After further accuracy assessment, several maps that 'looked right' on a visual inspection were later found to have significant errors.

Look at the Plat

A plat is a map of a plot of land with specific information on it, such as property lines, water frontage, and restrictions. The plat will also contain a lot size recorded by a surveyor. It's important to check this to ensure the lot is large enough for your purposes.

Imagine buying a piece of land and then attempting to build a home.

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