3 mistakes when buying land

3 Mistakes When Buying Land

Are you considering buying vacant land? Whether it’s for your dream home, investment purposes, or to simply own a piece of land, there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Mistake #1: Not Closing Through a Title Company

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying vacant land is not closing through a title company. Some sellers may suggest self-closing, but it’s essential to avoid this option. Self-closing can be tempting as it saves on closing costs, but it could prove very costly in the long run if there are any title issues.

A title company performs a title search to ensure that the property has a clear title and is free from any liens or encumbrances. A title search can uncover potential title issues that could affect your ownership rights, such as unpaid property taxes, outstanding mortgages, or claims from previous owners or creditors.

If you close without a title company and later discover title issues, you could be responsible for resolving these issues at your own expense. This could include hiring a lawyer, paying for title insurance, and even going to court to clear the title.

By closing through a title company, you can be confident that the property you’re buying has a clear title, and you won’t face any unpleasant surprises down the road.

Mistake #2: Not Checking for a Well and Perc Test

Another common mistake is not checking for a well and perc test. A well determines if you can install a septic tank on the property, while a perc test determines if the property is suitable for building on.

Without a well, you won’t have access to clean water, and you’ll need to spend significant time and money drilling a well or installing a water system. Similarly, if the perc test determines that the soil is unsuitable for building, you’ll need to spend time and money finding an alternative property or seeking a variance from local authorities.

Before buying vacant land, make sure to verify if there is a well and a perc test on the property. If there isn’t, it’s essential to factor in the cost and time required to install a well and perform a perc test into your budget.

Mistake #3: Not Checking the Zoning

The third common mistake when buying vacant land is not checking the zoning. Zoning laws vary from state to state and even between cities and counties. It’s essential to research the zoning laws in the area where you’re considering buying land to ensure that the property is zoned for the intended use.

For example, if you plan to build a single-family home, you’ll need to ensure that the property is zoned for residential use. If the property is zoned for commercial use or agricultural use, you won’t be able to build a home on it.

You may also want to research any future developments planned for the area, as this could affect the property’s value or future use.

It’s important to note that zoning laws can be complex and subject to change. To ensure that you have the most up-to-date information, you may want to consult with a local planning and zoning commission or a real estate attorney.


Buying vacant land can be an exciting opportunity, but it’s important to avoid common mistakes that could cost you time and money down the road. Always close through a title company, verify the property has a well and perc test, and research the zoning laws in the area where you’re considering buying land.

By taking these steps, you can be confident that you’re making an informed decision and that the land you’re buying is suitable for your intended use.

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