March 20, 2019 at 2:40pm | Allison Ables
Instead of searching for a home that meets all of their needs, some people opt to build their dream house from the ground up. What better way to get the house you have always wanted, down to the last detail, than having it custom built for you?

Alachua County is a great place to buy real estate, to build a house and to put down roots. Before you start down that path, there are a few things you need to know about buying vacant land upon which to build your home.

Zones, Codes, and Ordinances (oh my!)

The local government has established zones for commercial and residential development. Don’t assume you can build what you want wherever you want it, you need to be in the right zone to build your house.

Beyond the zones, there are various codes and ordinances that mandate what you can build, and how you need to build it. Don’t buy and try to have it rezoned, try to find land that fits your future needs. There are also environmental restrictions.

Don’t Count on a Loan
If you think the bank will finance your land purchase, think again! Unlike borrowing money to buy a house or building, lending institutions are not eager to issue loans with only a plot of land as the collateral. With no structure on the building, you may need to outright purchase the land yourself, without financing.

When you buy a house, you check to make sure the roof, HVAC, plumbing, the sewer or septic, and the electrical system are all in good shape. When buying land, you will have to make sure you will have access to running water and electricity. If the surrounding land is already developed this might not be a problem, but in remote areas, you may have to build your own infrastructure. Again, never assume you can build what you want to where you want to. It is best to ask your builder to look at the property you are considering during your due diligence process so you can back out if you find out early on that you won't be able to build.

Surveys and Tests
It is foolish to purchase a house without getting a home inspection. It is even more foolish to purchase vacant land without having it properly surveyed and tested. Environmental tests are probably the most important, to determine if the soil is contaminated.

Hiring a surveyor to look at the property will confirm the boundaries of the property, and curtail any future disputes. An elevation or more detailed survey is sometimes required to start building in certain areas.

Find a Pro Experienced with Land
Even if you have some personal experience with buying vacant land, find a local agent with experience to help you. 

An agent can help you negotiate the finer details, meet code specifications, and close the deal.

In Gainesville, and throughout Alachua County, Allison Ables and Watson Realty Corp. are ready to answer your questions and to help you find and finalize your land purchase. Contact me today via email at, or call me at (352) 745-3969.


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