Learning About Real Estate Listings and Agent Services

Buying An Empty Wooded Lot With The Prospect Of Building

by Elaine Ryan

If you'd rather build your home or another structure from the ground up instead of purchasing an existing building, then you might be looking at some empty wooded lots on the market. Buying an empty wooded lot can be a great way to come by land inexpensively, especially if you want your home or other structure to be in a quaint, country environment surrounded by trees. But there are some intricacies to buying and building on this type of land. Consider these factors and think about how you'll address them before you buy property with the intent to build on it.

How is the property zoned?

Be sure you look into the zoning ordinances before you decide to purchase the land. Don't make any assumptions here. Just because there are houses all down the street does not necessarily mean the parcel of land that's up for sale is also zoned residential. You'll want to be extra careful if you plan on opening any sort of commercial business on the land, since some districts have several types of commercial zoning. (For instance, the property may be zoned commercial, but only for establishments that do direct retail.) Call the local zoning board and give them the address of the lot you're thinking of buying. Ask specifically not only for the zoning regulations, but also for a description of what each one does and does not allow for. You don't want to spend thousands on land and then find out you can't use it for its intended purpose.

Is there any wildlife present that will make clearing the land a challenge?

If an endangered species of birds lives in the trees or there's a rare species of tree growing on the property, you might be disheartened to find that state or local ordinances prevent you from clearing all or part of the land. So have a wildlife conservation expert look over the land before you purchase it to ensure that clearing some of it will be an option. The Department of Environmental Conservation should be able to put you in touch with an expert in your area who can help.

How much will clearing the land actually cost?

The cost of clearing land can vary widely from $20 to $6,000 per acre depending on how heavily wooded it is. You would not want to purchase the land and then find that clearing the necessary space costs far more than you imagined. Get a few estimates from logging and landscaping companies before you buy the land so you have a better idea of what you can afford.

Throughout this process, working with a realtor who has experience with empty wooded lots can be very helpful. They'll guide you through the process based on the challenges and successes they've experienced with past clients.