A purchase of land for commercial use should not be undertaken lightly. You may think that you have found the perfect parcel of property, and you may be tempted to close the sale as quickly as possible. However, you will derive more profit and enjoyment from your purchase if you take the time to research the plot of land that you are considering. When it comes to buying commercial land, what you don't know can not only hurt you, it can ruin your business plans and lead to substantial financial loss.
The first and most obvious consideration when purchasing commercial property is location, and this factor is relatively easy to evaluate. Depending on the intended use of the plot of land, you will want to ascertain whether the land is easily accessible by local highways and public transit and whether it is close to amenities such as shopping malls, apartment complexes, recreational facilities, schools, and manufacturing plants. You should also consider whether the subject property is close to and capable of being serviced by any required local utilities, such as electricity, telephone, natural gas, and water. Providing the infrastructure for some utilities, such as water, can be highly expensive for parcels of land in remote locations.
An even more crucial factor than location is development potential. Before buying a plot of land, you must determine whether it is possible to build upon it. A piece of property may be in a prime location, but you will lose the value of your investment if you do not discover that you cannot build upon it until after you buy it. Factors that influence buildability include the quality of the soil and the general topography. Will the soil support the foundation of whatever structure you intend to build upon the property? Is there sufficient drainage or is the land susceptible to flooding? Is there easy access to a sewage system? Will hills and slopes on the surface of the land complicate or hinder your plans for developing the parcel? These are all essential questions for which the answers should be obtained before you complete your purchase.
Other important issues to research include local zoning ordinances and applicable environmental regulations. The zoning laws for the town or municipality in which the land is located may limit the uses to which the property can be put. They may also place restrictions on the type, size, or construction of any structure that is built upon it. In addition, local, state, and federal environmental regulations can also place strict limits on development and sometimes require property owners to undertake costly remedial measures to preserve wildlife or the character of the land.
Finally, make sure that you determine whether there are utility easements on the property and where they are located. If such easements exist, determine whether their location will interfere with your construction plans, compromise the aesthetic value of the property, or otherwise impede your use of the land.
Researching these issues can be tedious and time-consuming. However, you will be thankful that you took the time to look into these matters before buying your land rather than afterward. As with any transaction, having more information can only benefit you as a purchaser and, later, as a land owner and developer.