Knowing how to buy land will help you make a sound investment decision for the future property value of your new build.
Buying a block of land can be a great way to get started in a particular property market when you’re not quite ready to buy or build. So how do you go about narrowing your land buying choices to prepare the way for your ideal home? Here are some tips to guide you.
Know your locations
Your choice of location will largely depend on the lifestyle you’re looking for. If you can work remotely, perhaps you’re after a rural block with plenty of space and privacy, but remember that you’ll be travelling a long way to retail hubs and transport links.
Land values tend to be more stable closer to metro areas, and there are generally more land releases in the outer areas of capital cities. If you need to commute to your current job, then new residential developments can offer good transport links, and local amenities such as parks, shops and schools.
Blocks come in all shapes and sizes and the type you buy will be influenced by the style and dimensions of the house you’re planning to build. A large frontage can be attractive if you’re planning for a large garage, for example.
Sloping sites can give you better views of the surrounding neighbourhood but often limit your choice of home designs and drive up building costs. Narrow, angular and battle axe blocks may also need a customised home design to make the most of available space.
Look at planning controls
It’s important to carry out your own due diligence on vacant land to avoid nasty or expensive surprises later on. Research any restrictions on title – easements, covenants etc. – and how local planning controls could affect your future home design in terms of height restrictions, floor space ratios and boundaries.
If your chosen block is surrounded by other vacant blocks, check council plans, zoning and land use for these sites. You won’t want to end up with the constant noise of factories, workshops or roads as your future neighbours.
Aspect and key features – trees, water and soil
The aspect of your site will affect the position of your new home and its energy efficiency. Blocks with a north facing home are easier to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter, saving on energy bills. Bear in mind the expense involved in removing large trees from your proposed site and be sure to carry out a soil test too. The cost of building foundations for your new home can vary significantly depending on the composition of the soil.
Look for the presence of any groundwater in case you’ll need to allow for extra drainage and check with council if the location is prone to flooding.
Contact utility companies to get costs for connecting the block to electricity, water and sewage if these services aren’t already installed.
Know all your costs
As you’re narrowing down your options, keep track of all the extra costs associated with each site. Then you can choose the right block for your new home, safe in the knowledge that you can budget for the build when the time comes to break soil.
Have you been through the process of buying vacant land? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.