One of the biggest first steps toward building your new home is to find and purchase land to build on. The earlier this is done, the better. If you plan to build in the next few years, you should be looking now.

Do you already have land to build on? Let us know, and we can help you begin the planning process. For now, we’d like to share a few thoughts as you move forward with finding that perfect place to call home.

Quality of Life. Getting a great deal on price is only one factor to be considered. Do you like the view? How far away are markets, medical and emergency services and other necessities? Will weather affect access?

Local Economy Taxes. The health of the local economy will influence your land decision. Grinding poverty can have just as dramatic impact on the landscape as an influx of billionaires. Which way is your community headed? Research the current tax rate. A community needs some taxes to support infrastructure such as police, fire protection and water and sewer. However, tax rates in some resort areas have been known to dramatically increase, which can be a serious threat if you are on a fixed income in your retirement years.

Zoning Density. Start by visiting the local building department, either on the city or county level. Research the zoning and density requirements that surround your potential building site. Understand how your building site and the community as a whole will be impacted by nearby development.

Federal State Lands. If you’re shopping for pristine land, look for areas that fall under federally protected land and wildlife rules. Even if land is privately owned, it will be subject to certain restrictions to protect endangered species. Critical habitats, including migration routes for eagles, spotted owls or bats are typically exempt from large-scale developments, large power lines or highways.

Community Covenants. Covenant-controlled communities limit what you can do with your own property. This seems intrusive at first glance, but it’s the only way for developers to tread lightly on the land and preserve their clients’ investments in the process. If there are no land use rules, your neighbors may invite every cousin to park an RV in their front yard–forever. Neighbors can be more than an annoyance; they can detract from the value of your investment.

We hope some of this information helps as you are looking for property. Of course, we’re in contact with a number of realtors and others who can offer assistance, too.