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Buying Rural Land to Build a Home

Like many homebuyers, you may want to take advantage of Internet technologies to live and work far away from the city. A primary or second home by the ocean, lake, mountains or desert could be heavenly, but hard to obtain in today’s warp-speed real estate climate. So why not build the home of your dreams on your own land? 

Finding available land is just the first step. You may already have a favorite vacation spot or a location in mind near family, friends and the office - if you need to make an appearance. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can help you acquire the acreage you want or refer you to a qualified rural specialist. This is important because experts know what you can and can’t do on the land you want to buy such as research easements, deed restrictions, zoning laws and pre-construction permits; and identify floodplains and appropriate building sites, among other services. 

You’ll find that buying land to build is not the same as buying an existing home.  According to, the main difference between buying land for building a home and buying a house is financing. Terms are brief compared to fixed rate mortgages, down payment requirements are much higher (as much as 50%), interest rates are higher and types of loans available aren’t as plentiful. 

Typical lenders are reluctant to loan in areas where there are few comparable homes for sale. Buying land with cash is a good idea because the land can then be used as a down payment towards your construction loan. 

Finding a builder could be tricky, too. For example, if you want to build a luxury log cabin you’ll need a builder who is familiar with not only building with logs, but with permits, fees and running utilities to the site. 

As a buyer, you should also be familiar with the following, according to the Realtors Land Institute: 

  • Special Tax Assessments

  • Property Boundaries

  • Soil Productivity

  • Future Land Use Planning

  • Crop & Timber Yields

  • Well water quality and flow

  • Road & Driveway Maintenance

  • Fire & Ambulance Services

  • Electricity and High Speed Internet Options

  • Past & Present Land Use

  • Adjacent properties’ land uses

  • Past logging practices

  • Surveys

  • Topography & geo hazards

  • Property taxes & associated deferrals

  • Market valuations & inspections

  • Sale negotiations

Become familiar with nearby towns and what services they offer, including medical doctors and veterinarians, property management, educational facilities and opportunities for culture, entertainment, and philanthropical participation.