Since 2009, realtor, Ashley Vaughn, has helped people looking for property on which to build. From purchasing a lot in an existing neighborhood to finding a pristine estate property in remote areas of Alabama, Ashley has a connected people with land on which dream homes will be built and a lifetime of memories will be made.

“Finding the ideal piece of property in just the right part of town or country, with the right nearby or far away amenities starts with truly understanding how you want to live,” says Vaughn.

“Knowing where to look for the right property starts with questions for families that include thoughts about the need for children – like schools, friends, playdates, and extracurricular interests. Decisions about the adults will concern distance from workplaces, entertainment, shopping, healthcare and even grocery stores,” she said.

While Vaughn knows that buyers will be most focused on the beauty of the land, its potential for views and the price of the purchase, she also warns that there are issues beyond the aesthetics and lifestyle questions about the actual land itself and whether it is suitable to build your dream home.

Before locking in your final choice for property here are Ashley’s tips:

    • Visit the local building office for the city or county. You will need to ask about density and zoning ordinances that may impact your design or plans that may be In the works that will impact your prospective property.
    • Topsoil depth is a big consideration. Your mountain side could have spectacular views, but if there is thin topsoil building on the property may require extensive and expensive blasting. In addition, shallow soil may present issues for the installation of septic systems with soil that will not “perc”. A percolation test will need to be conducted.
    • Does the State have a plan in place for growth over the next few decades. These plans will tell you where the State or Region plans for growth to occur. From these plans you can anticipate targeted funding for roads, development, commercial corridors and interstates.
    • If your home is to be in a community development, there may be a wide range of restrictions and covenants for what you are allowed to build. Covenants can restrict the height, setbacks, the materials and even the colors and styles of the home’s exterior.
    • Pay attention to the general state of the economy of the area in which you are considering building. While the attraction of low tax rates and even less costly land may be a huge draw, it can also be an indication of insufficient police, fire, schools, water and sewer and a general business decline that will make it a less attractive place to live. Additionally, some significantly low tax rates can be a warning that the area is poised for explosive growth. These lower rate areas attract certain kinds of investors such as resort areas that may make the area less desirable to live in full time.
    • Arriving at the property is a factor to consider. You will want to examine whether there is more than one road in and out of the area, how close you are to an airport, whether you have access to highways and interstates. You will want ease of access without a lot of traffic in your neighborhood.
    • If you are a wildlife lover, building on private land near Federally protected areas can forever protect you from large overhead power lines, changing views and provide you with the fun of the critters that live in the protected habitats.
    • Price is one aspect of buying land. It is equally important that you consider lifestyle and then things that you enjoy doing. Your distance from entertainment, health care, shopping and other amenities is a big consideration before you decide to buy.
    • Always purchase land with a contingency contract. These agreements between you and the seller will allow for a number of days (usually 30 – 90) for you to have the land tested by engineering and the builder to assure that the land is buildable (not in a flood area, not on a wetland, has soil deep enough to minimize blasting and sufficient to support septic, etc.) Contingencies require the buyer to pay a (usually) non-refundable deposit to show that you are a serious buyer. Sellers unwilling to participate in a contingency contract may be hiding the fact that the property is not buildable.