As house prices continue to grow in many of the country’s urban areas, more and more Canadians are looking for alternatives when it comes to home buying. One popular solution is to seek out a plot of land and build a brand-new home from scratch. With initiatives around the country, this can be a far more affordable option and one that allows you to build your perfect home.
But the process of finding and buying a good plot of land can be difficult. It can be tricky to know where to begin, especially if you haven’t done it before. There are different types of land you can buy, and not all of them are suitable for building on. With this in mind, let’s see how you can find the right plot of land for your future home.
Search Online and Offline
In the digital age, most searches begin online, and this is certainly the case for seeking out a plot of land. As the practice increases in popularity, more and more online portals offer specific services for those looking to buy a plot of land. Searching online gives you a great overview of how much land costs in different areas, and a rough idea of what’s available. Such online portals will also provide detailed information about each plot, including whether it can be built on.
However, while online services are good, they don’t always have the most up to date listings. To find plots of land that aren’t publicly advertised, you’ll need to search offline, and it helps to ask around, as you might find a real bargain. One tip is to ask local builders in the area you’re interested in; they’re likely to have professional contacts in the industry who might have valuable insider information.
Use Online Maps
Before you narrow your search down, you can make use of online mapping services to scope out potential places to set up your new home. Becoming increasingly accurate, online maps are a great way to get almost satellite level quality images of rural, urban and suburban areas alike. They’re great for scoping out and tracking the growth of up and coming neighbourhoods, or simply looking for a slice of paradise away from larger towns.
Be Sure You Can Build on it
Not all plots of land can be built on, so it’s vital that you check before making an offer. Be sure to understand any local building codes in advance, so that you know whether what you want to do is possible or not, and which permits you’ll need to get. If you find that the building codes aren’t in your favour, you can search elsewhere.
Look in Established Neighbourhoods
While it’s no guarantee that plots of land in existing neighbourhoods are for building on, the chances are they already have the required permits and permissions. These plots may be more expensive, but they’re also more likely to benefit from established infrastructure, compared to plots that are further afield. Alternatively, consider buying a plot of land in an up and coming neighbourhood, which may be cheaper.
Look for Free Land!
In some areas of the country, free land is offered as an incentive for people to settle down there. Often in smaller, more rural communities, the land is given away for free, or a token fee of $1 or $10. There are normally conditions attached, with many such offers stipulating that construction must start within a year — however, the savings can be fantastic!
Know Your Options
It’s good to understand the different types of land available to buy. Typically, the two main types are greenfield land and brownfield land. Greenfield refers to land that has never been developed on before, while brownfield land has been built on previously. Both offer something different and may be subject to different planning requirements.
Have it Surveyed
Once you’ve established that you can build on a certain plot of land, you might be tempted to put an offer in right then and there. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should. It’s worth having any plot of land surveyed by a professional before making an offer. They can check anything from flood risks and the soil type, and whether it’s good for building on, to boundaries and underground service pipes and cables. Just like in the case of a home inspection, this not only gives you peace of mind but prevents you from buying a plot that is unsuitable for your needs.
Be Sure of Your Boundaries
It’s always good to double check where your plot starts and ends, paying close attention to access points. Be sure your plot has access to public highways if required, and isn’t separated by a smaller plot of land that is owned by someone else, otherwise you may have to arrange and pay for access.