Do you want to build a dream home in Colorado? The first step is buying land in Colorado to construct it on. Although it may seem easy, there are quite a few questions you need to ask before putting down your hard-earned money on a tract or parcel of land. When you want to purchase a lot or plot, it’s important to ask the right questions to find a property that fits your needs. Knowing these questions before you begin buying land in Colorado can save you money and frustration.
Is the Property Accessible?
The first thing to look when buying land in Colorado at is accessibility. If you’re going to build your dream home, you’ll need to be able to get to it. The State of Colorado requires that every property be directly accessible. Some properties are landlocked, meaning you can only access them through an easement on another property.
The roads leading to your property should also be a concern. Can you navigate them in a regular automobile? Or do you need a 4×4 or offroad vehicle? It can also be a good idea to see how the roads leading to the potential property are maintained, especially during the snowy winter. You want to be able to come and go from your property and not get stuck. It’s also critical to examine how the property and surrounding area are developed. Are the streets paved? Are there curbs, streetlights, and proper signage?
How is the land you are buying in Colorado zoned?
It’s also essential to check how the land is currently zoned. If it’s zoned as residential, you can build a home there. The most common classifications for vacant land are residential, recreational, and undeveloped. If it is zoned as something else (such as commercial), you may need to approach the county zoning board to request rezoning. While this is a possibility, it isn’t always a sure thing, so it’s best to inquire before you buy. Zoning regulations can also have other stipulations that limit the size of new builds, deny manufactured, modular or mobile homes, and have other distinct restrictions that you should know ahead of time.
Are There Structure Limitations?
Do you wish to have a specific building built on your land? Do you want a mobile home or RV on the property? Through due diligence, you may need a minimum-size house (in square feet). If you’re planning on building a small house, RV, or composting toilet, you must do your research. There may be a limit to the number of months per year you can park your mobile home or RV on the property.
Do I Need a Land Survey when buying land in Colorado?
You should always have a survey done before buying land in Colorado. Your lender or title company may require a study to verify your land’s boundaries and legal access. You may need to pay for a survey if there isn’t one available. But it’s a wise investment. Once you receive the survey, check for any easement rights marked on it. Are there easements encroaching on your plot, or are you infringing on someone else? Some easements can prohibit new construction, stopping your dream project dead in its tracks.
Does It Have Water?
Does the land and building site have existing water? It’s essential to understand your water rights before purchasing land. Look for a well, cistern, or water tap on the property. If there is no water on the property, the seller can apply for a well-water permit you can receive at closing. A water attorney can be a valuable resource. They can research the permits, adjudicated water rights, and delve into alternative water rights for the property, like a pond or river.
Is There Power?
You’ll need electricity if you want to construct a dream home, so always check for power before you begin buying property in Colorado. First, it’s essential to find and mark existing utility lines before you do any building, so you don’t damage them. Underground lines that provide energy to your home can wreak havoc if damaged. Fortunately, you can avoid injuries, fines, and damage to your home by finding underground utilities before starting any project. Before you dig, visit Colorado’s 811 website and request a utility locator. The site can help pinpoint and mark the location of lines, so you don’t dig too deep.
Is There an HOA?
Even if you purchase a plot of land far removed from society, there may be a Homeowners’ Association (or HOA). An HOA organizes and enforces rules to protect a community, subdivision, or building. Members pay a fee in exchange for the association maintaining common areas, setting rules, and often providing amenities. Like most services, there are fees for services organized by your HOA. Some communities have low HOA fees, while others are pricey. Some HOAs have few rules, while others are quite strict, so it’s best to do your research.
Should I Get a Soil Test?
When buying land in Colorado, if you want to do any construction, you’ll need a soil test. A soil test is required on a new home to determine the composition of the soil and whether it can adequately support the foundation. It is also often a necessary part of obtaining a building permit. Soil engineers do soil surveys. You can hire them privately or through the architect or contractor who designs and builds your new home. They must be licensed in Colorado and have passed the National Council of Examiners in Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) fundamental engineering exam.
What About Taxes and Liens on the Property?
What will be your property taxes after construction? Taxes change once you build a new home on the property. Ask an appraiser what to expect so you can plan accordingly. Also, identify the amount of taxes, liens, or debts (if any) owed on the property. There may be none, but it’s crucial to check, as it will ensure that you are not stuck with a property that owes hundreds or thousands of dollars in back taxes.
What About Timber and Mineral Rights?
Ask the seller who has the mineral rights and if they sell with the property when buying land in Colorado. The situation is similar for timber. You may have good quality wood on your property, but you cannot sell it for profit unless you own the rights to it. Ask before buying so you know what’s included in a property sale.
Who Are Your Neighbors?
Who are the neighbors around your property? If you had to sell the property again in a year, would other potential buyers be willing to purchase it? These are essential questions because what your neighbors do can affect the value of your property. This is especially true for settlements and more urban areas. If you’re high in the mountains with few neighbors, this shouldn’t be an issue.