Most of us found all of our homes’ flaws in 2020 (says the person with not one, but 4 home projects going on right now) and are seeking out the perfect place to build our dream home. More often than not though, people call me after signing the land and construction contract—when there is a big problem that could have been avoided by consulting with an attorney. To help your purchase and construction go smoothly, consider these three things before you buy vacant land and build your home:
- Get your contract reviewed. – Have a lawyer prepare or review the agreement, especially if it is a contract to sell and construct a home (and especially if the builder gave you their “form” contract). Too often clients come to us trying to get out of residential construction contracts because the builder is taking too long or is not following the plans. These contracts are usually builder-friendly and you need someone to create exits out of a deal gone sideways.
- Check title. – It is likely obvious if the vacant land is subject to things like a homeowners’ association, but what about other items like liens or older restrictions that affect your desired use of the property? I expect to see more land being sold through foreclosure in the coming months. It is vital that you check the property’s title to confirm that everything was properly named in the foreclosure or that there are no surprises lurking in the chain of title.
- Obtain a survey. – Do not trust the natural boundary lines or the current location of any structures that you see on the property. I repeat: do not trust them! Additionally, ask the surveyor to show the location of any easements that were found in your title search. The worst case scenario is finding an easement right where you intended on building your home or that your future neighbor’s house encroaches on your property.
Your dream home will likely be one, if not the, biggest investment in your life. Take the additional time and expense to do things right to save yourself money and regret.
Michelle E. Reid represents individuals, developers, operating companies, and lenders in various matters including acquisitions, sales, leasing of multi-family, retail, office, and industrial sites, financing, commercial and residential condominium development, residential subdivisions, zoning, and the obtaining and granting of easements. Michelle is a licensed Ohio title agent and serves as a title agent in Kentucky. With her deep insight into real estate and related businesses, Michelle focuses on bringing real-world solutions to the table while meticulously ensuring the integrity of a transaction. She can be reached at 513-621-8900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.