I've been working with buyers lately looking for large tracts of land. When you're looking to buy land, you shouldn't rush, especially if you're planning on some type of subdividing. Buyer can never rely on what a seller or a sellers agent tells you. Even more important is what they don't tell you. One example is, i had a buyer stop at a sign to look at some farm land. The owner happen to pull in while they were lookign and writing down the agents # from sign. They called me when they got home. I know the land and the owner, and I knew it didn't meet buyers criteria. The owner just said it was already divided into 3 pieces, and that they could build anything they wanted. HA, when I checked into where they were in the division process, there were already 10 lots. The price was a little high, but that's not usually the problem. The costs to develop are what kills most buyers. Just a few cost are entrance off of highway. VDOT wants turn lanes from both directions. Cost is $400,000.00. Bond is $400,000.00, building the actual road will be around $100,000.00. So buyer will have to have an extra million dollars before building the first house, or selling the first lot. There are numerous other costs as well.
Anyway, when you are thinking about buying or selling land, don't overlook your county website as a starting point. It's not always accurate, but it can provide enough information to help you decide to investigate or pass on a large tract of land.
I'll use this lot from our county website as an example.
Before I even go to the property, I can research it on the county website. By just choosing a few selections, I can usually tell whether or not this property will work for what my buyers are looking for.Just from this map, I can verify it's AR-1 zoning, and know that there are three ways to subdivide it. (1) Base Density (2) Principle Subordinate (3) Cluster. Each has it's pros and cons. I can tell that the lot has approx 1500' of road frontage on a 45MPH road. That means I'll need 500' of sight distance in both directions. Looks like we do. I can see drain field for house is in back yard, and that neighbor to the West must have a drain field easement on this lot. I can see approx 10 acres is wooded, some is hydric soil along creek, small amount of flood plain across rear, and four drainage ditches cross the property. I can see that there are five classes of soil of which 3 are bad and 2 are good. 23B is good +, 20C is good, 20D bad, 17B bad, and 10B is swamp. I can predict finding 14 drain field sites is very likely. So at this point, it looks like I can suggest buyers make offer. There will be additional items to consider later like road, road bond, archeologists study, hydrogeologic study, endangered species study, soil scientist, etc.
Call me if you're buying or selling land.
Jeff Pearl | Lic in VA
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