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An undeveloped piece of land is like a blank canvas onto which you can paint your dream home. Before you can begin building, though, you need to make some important determinations about the piece of land you intend to buy. This will help prevent surprises during the development process that could slow down progress.

Related: Where to Invest the Most Money When Home-Building

Here are four essential steps to take when looking to buy and develop new land that will help make your life easier:

Consider Current Zoning

Every piece of land, no matter how insignificant, is zoned in a certain way. Therefore, before you commit to buy a certain parcel, it’s important to understand the current zoning restrictions on that parcel and how that’ll affect your plans. If you need to have the zoning classification changed, it’s good to know how feasible this is given the surrounding developments. This will help you know whether you need to make a move or simply move on.

Think Through Environmental Challenges

Even if a piece of land looks fairly smooth and free from environmental features, it’s still important to have it assessed. You never know if a particular area on the land is part of a protected area or if it’s in a flood plain. Finding out about environmental challenges during the discovery phase will help you avoid major environmental remediation expenses down the road.

Seek Out Assistance

The world of commercial real estate can be quite complicated. In addition to zoning laws and environmental challenges, you’ve got potential ownership disputes, financing, and so much more. Therefore, it’s good to recruit a trusted real estate law firm to help guide you through the process and help you avoid any major mistakes that could derail your project. Plus, using a law firm can help you find cost savings throughout the various steps of the project.

Talk With Builders

Another thing you should be doing during the land acquisition process is to begin talking to potential builders. Then, by the time you sign an agreement on a parcel of land, you’ll be able to identify the best builder for that site. In some cases, a certain builder might be better suited to build in a specific area if they have experience building on certain types of soil or working around certain environmental features. Choosing the right builder will help ensure your project is a success and that costs are limited as much as possible.

Starting a building project with raw land can be a long and frustrating process. Through it all, though, it’s important not to lose focus on the end goal. By working hard in the beginning to create the best home, you’ll find yourself with a low-maintenance and high value house that will suit the needs of your family perfectly for many years to come.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She finds happiness in researching new topics that help expand her horizons. Looking to recruit a real estate law firm? Belnap recommends working with Parsons, Behle & Latimer.

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