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  • Writer's pictureDan Caradonna

The Vital Role of Utilities and Infrastructure in Land Purchases

When embarking on the journey to find the perfect plot of land for your dream home, you've already completed crucial steps like selecting your community, evaluating builders, conducting thorough research, and visiting potential properties. Now, it's time to delve into the Technical Due Diligence phase, where you assess the essential factors that often go unnoticed – utilities and infrastructure.


1. Secure a Thoughtful Purchase Contract


Before you commit to a land purchase, consider securing a purchase contract. This contract grants you an inspection period, allowing you to perform due diligence and includes contingencies that safeguard your interests should any deal-breaking issues arise. Enlisting a Buyer's agent can greatly assist you in this process.


2. Technical Due Diligence Demystified


Technical Due Diligence might sound intimidating, but it's essentially about conducting meticulous research on practical details. While it does involve specialized knowledge, you can navigate it with support from experts such as real estate agents, builders, and surveyors.


Now, let's turn our attention to evaluating the availability of utilities and infrastructure at your chosen lot, including power, water, sewer, and communications.


3. Developed Neighborhoods vs. Rural Living


In developed or established communities, confirming utility and infrastructure availability is typically straightforward, often covered by your construction agreement with the builder. However, if you're eyeing a vacant lot in a less urban setting, you may need to invest more effort in ensuring you can access the services you need within your budget.


Power: Exploring Options


While electrical power is usually readily available, you might want to explore alternative and green power sources such as solar, natural gas, propane, heating oil, or geothermal. Ensure that your preferred energy source aligns with what's accessible at your lot, especially if you desire a gas stove or water heater.


Water and Sewer: Consider the Costs


Public water or sewer services may require costly extensions on larger, remote lots. Reach out to your local utility department to inquire about any potential extensions, tap/connection fees, meters, capacity assessments, or other associated costs that could impact your budget.


Alternative systems like wells, rainwater collection, and filtration systems might be feasible options for meeting your water requirements. In some cases, a septic system could be the solution, but be prepared for a perc test to determine if the soil can accommodate it.


A perc test measures the soil's absorption rate and failing this test could limit the number of bedrooms in your new home or even hinder construction.


Communications: Plan Ahead


Consider the types of communication services you desire, such as high-speed Internet, telephone, or cable TV, and ensure that your house plans incorporate appropriate wiring.


Explore modern communication alternatives that may not require direct utility connections. If cable isn't available in your area, satellite TV or mobile phone usage might be viable alternatives.


Whether you're buying in an established neighborhood or a secluded locale, it's crucial to confirm that your utility needs align with your plans and budget.


Technical Due Diligence may sound complex, but don't let that deter you. Your real estate agent and builder are invaluable resources to help you swiftly determine the availability of essential services when purchasing land.


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