Finding The Right Home Or Building Lot
1. How do I find out about the local school district?
Contact the local school district office to request information. Check with the school district to make sure that the house is located in the school district you think it’s in. You can also get a lot of information on the internet regarding school districts. Typically, the school district a house is in has a large effect on the home’s value.
2. To build or not to build?
Existing homes have character but may not have the specific attributes that you want. You may choose to build your own house to create the lifestyle that works best for you & your family’s needs. However, building a home is not easy or cheap. Architects, contractors, sub-contractors, building inspectors, & others are needed for the construction process. It can take over one year to complete a home construction project. And it can cost a lot of money, depending on what you’re building. Construction loans are available but complex for those who aren’t experts at it. Also building loans can sometimes have higher interest rates than traditional mortgages.
3. Are there restrictions on clearing my building lot?
Local zoning laws often affect residential construction. You’ll need the most up-to-date zoning map from your municipal office or their website as well as a survey of the property. You’ll need to be involved with the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Board, the Conservation Board, the Department of Environmental Conservation & the Building Department for approvals. There may be local zoning laws regarding clearing a lot. Do not take out a single tree without knowing the rules or you could face stiff penalties.
4. What is zoning & how does it apply to the use of my property?
Zoning laws are public regulations that affect the permitted uses of a specific piece of land. All properties are governed by local zoning laws. Zoning laws divide land into zones & within each zone regulate what can be built there, including uses, height, size, bulk of the building (Floor Area Ratio), the number of people a property can accommodate, etc. Through zoning communities can control development to ensure that their town has the right mix of properties to create a vibrant community. Additionally, each parcel needs to be properly serviceable by streets, sanitary & storm sewers, schools, parks, & utilities. Zoning is the primary cause for creating the value of a piece of land.
5. What are real estate exchanges & how do I get involved with one?
Most real estate transactions involve the exchange of money for property. Exchanging property for property is also legal. This type of exchange can be popular because it can be accomplished without large sums of cash. It sidesteps the intermediate step of converting property to cash & then converting the cash back to property. In addition, sellers can avoid paying income or capital gains tax on the sale of their property. These are extremely complex transactions & if you want to get involved in this you should consult an attorney as well as an accountant.
6. What happens when I find a house or unimproved property that I want to purchase?
Work with your Realtor to negotiate a purchase price with the seller. A non-binding Memorandum of Sale is faxed to all the parties & the seller’s attorney prepares a contract & sends it to the buyer’s attorney. The parties then negotiate the contract & then the buyer signs the contract & submits it to the seller’s attorney with an earnest money check. Once the seller has signed the contract & the earnest money check has cleared, the property is under contract.