If you own a piece of land, you should be able to do anything you want with it, right? From building a house to starting a business, it’s all fair game.
Not so fast—zoning laws and land planning in Idaho put major restrictions on what you can and cannot build or do with your vacant property. Keep reading to learn more about what goes into building on a vacant lot:
- Zoning regulations: The biggest restrictor for building a new house are the zoning laws in your area. Zoning laws put in place by the city government determine what types of structures can be built in certain places. Before talking to a contractor or designing your new home, start by calling the city and asking for a zoning map. This map will give you a better understanding of whether or not you can move forward with the build.
- Permitting: Assuming that your property is zoned for residential builds, you’ll now need to obtain a permit from the city. The permit application asks for things like location, total project size, driveway location and septic and electric information. It’s fairly simple to file a permit, but you’re not always guaranteed to receive one. For example, you may be denied a permit if your property is located in a flood plain or if you don’t have a viable way to build a septic system.
- Land quality: The city can also deny your plan if the property isn’t physically buildable. Building a house on unstable land is a danger for you and the construction crew, so the city may shut your project down if the land isn’t safe. For this reason, it’s vital that you consult a professional for land planning in Idaho before purchasing a vacant lot to begin with.
Tips for buying a vacant lot
As mentioned above, buying a vacant lot may be risky. Here are a few things to consider before pulling the trigger on that new plot of land:
- Get a survey: First and foremost, bring in a professional to survey the land. A quality survey can go a long way in determining whether or not the land will be usable in the future. A professional survey will also tell you how much the property is truly worth so you won’t get stuck overpaying for the lot.
- Consider utilities: As we discussed earlier, building permits can get turned down if there’s no viable way for the prospective home to get connected to water or electricity, so you’ll want to make sure a house would be able to get those hookups. A surveyor can help you map this out.
- Have cash on hand: Getting a bank loan for the purpose of purchasing land isn’t always easy, so we recommend having plenty of cash in case you aren’t able to receive one.
If you’re considering buying a vacant lot, or if you’d like to build on one you already own, be sure to call our pros at Mason & Associates! From land planning in Idaho to professional surveys, we’re your one-stop shop for all of your land planning and civil engineering needs.