When looking for a change in scenery, and perhaps a new place to anchor your family, your first thought probably wouldn’t be to buy land. Simply put, land is difficult. It’s unmanageable in the wrong hands. Raw land is, in the very least, a challenge, and at the worst, a completely unusable investment and financial black hole.
Yet despite all these considerations, there are still arguments to be made for land as a good investment for people seeking to not just get a home, but build their own. Mostly because when you buy land, it doesn’t have to be raw land. And even as a foreigner, you might not have as much trouble getting land as you would think, according to ExpatriateAdvisory.com.
Houses, condominiums, and townhouses are some of the most common first-time homebuyer decisions. And according to Global Property Guide, they’re a good investment today as the market slows. Not many nowadays have the time or capital to invest in land and develop their own home, and few would buy an apartment building to turn into their own home, with renting perks. When it’s just you and your family, the decision usually lies between a condominium in the city, a house in the suburbs, or a townhouse in another residential district. However, that doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to these choices – especially when you have your own vision for what your home should look like.
Financing Land is Much of the Same
If you’ve ever jumped through the hoops to finance a home, then you’ll be pleased to know that financing land is much the same shtick. Contact your bank or lender and discuss land-financing options with them before even deciding what kind of land to look for.
Getting pre-approved for a land loan is exactly as necessary as is getting pre-approved for absolutely any kind of significant loan purchase – it helps you set a concrete and distinct budget, one you can absolutely afford and one by which you can set your expectations.
While buying a house is all about getting an emotional connection to the very walls and floors of the home, and seeing yourself cooking on the granite countertop or enjoying a book by the window, buying land is a much more tactical decision. Sure, you can fall in love with the location and the landscape – but the actual soil and ground itself is a matter of pure logistics. And that’s where an expert’s opinion has to come in.
Know What to Look For
Land is versatile. Land can be swampy, or arid, with acidic soil or neutral ground, heavy foliage or sparse greenery. However, just like residential properties, every single parcel of land near or around a city or town has probably already been classified and purposed as commercial, residential, agricultural or industrial.
You’re looking for residential land. One way to get a good idea of what land is available in the area is through the Internet. As the Internet continues to grow throughout Asia at a rapid rate, especially here in Malaysia, it’s important to keep in mind its potential in helping you find the right deal. An online real estate directory like Property Guru is all you need to find the right piece of land for sale.
However, you definitely shouldn’t jump on an offer based on a dozen pictures and some ownership history. There’s more to land than that. Since you’re primarily looking for a property you can use to build on, you’ll want to know several other things, namely:
What kind of utilities are present on the land?
The most expensive cost for what it gets you when it comes to buying land is land development. Undeveloped land is difficult to finance – especially for a family – because as the name implies, it requires actual development before it can be worked on.
That includes potentially implementing tile drainages to ensure that insufficient natural soil percolation due to a lack of foliage won’t lead to flooding or erosion during wet seasons, digging trenches and laying piping down for access to the community water tank, or alternatively tapping into an underground reservoir, and not least of all, getting permission from the city to tap into its grid.
When you’re buying land to build on, make sure all the utilities you need are already present, unless you’re ready to tackle implementing them yourself.
What kind of zoning restrictions apply to the land?
In some cases, a city or region’s local government will have a specific set of zoning restrictions in place for a piece of land, either due to conservation or historical reasons. There might also be a moratorium on the property, which means that while it can be sold, it cannot be built or developed on for a given period of time – decades, in some cases.
Be sure to know what you can and cannot do with the land before you make your purchase. Once you’re sure your newly found deal is what you’re looking for – clean, developed land – you’re on to your next step in the journey to a new home!