Undeveloped Land – Resources for Buyers

There are many positive rewards for buying land!
I love buying land because it’s  a tangible investment that I can see, walk on, improve over time to build equity and pass on to my heirs. I think everyone should have a little bit of land in any investment portfolio. If you’ve always wanted an island property, this is a great time to invest in land!
Buying property, especially undeveloped land, may be a bit intimidating so I’ve prepared a list of resource links that might be helpful in your research. Whatever property you choose, some key factors must always be considered….
Are you sure you know where it is? 
This may seem obvious but there have been many cases over the years, where people have purchased a piece of property and found out that they actually bought the neighboring property.  If it needs a survey, is seller willing to pay for it? You should always get title insurance when you buy land and ask for an extended policy if you have any concerns.
Does it have water? 
If it needs a private well, check well history in the area and/or water rights the property may have.  The state of Washington has really “tightened up” the requirements for putting in a new well, so be sure to check with them about the application process. See impact of Hirst Decision  on water rights….very important!
If it has access to a community water system, what are the hookup fees and meter costs?
To confirm water availability:
What are your options for septic? 
Have soil logs been done?  Septic design?  Will you be able to go with a conventional system or is your designer going to have to get creative?  What will it cost you?
Site Preparation?  What are your costs for utility installation, tree removal and building site excavation?
Other Concerns?  Some other issues you may need to research are CCR’s, HOA fees and assessments, environmental concerns, drainage or wetlands, proximity to shoreline or critical areas, zoning and density potential for adjacent properties…..and more.
Do I have to pay cash or are there loan programs available for land?

Often sellers are willing to help finance your purchase for 5 to 10 years. You will probably need to offer a 20-25% down payment and pay an interest rate 1 to 2% over what a residential loan at a bank might cost.

 Islanders Bank has a couple of loan options available and possibly other lenders may as well. If you have good equity in your personal home, a HELOC may be something to consider as then you can offer the seller a CASH offer and possibly have more negotiating power.

Here are some links to help you with your research:
 COUNTY WEB SITES: 
 
DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY:
 
MAPS AND SHORELINE PHOTOS: