Anyone planning to invest in real estate already knows that land is one of the most sort after assets. This is because it is the only asset that appreciates in value over time.
For this article, we want to concentrate on what you should look out for when shopping for land with the intention to build on it. The legal process of buying land has been tackled here.
In the world of real estate, location is king and should always be the first thing to think about before buying. Specifically, how the plot of land relates to the overall community is very important. For instance, a lot that’s situated in a quiet and serene environment with a lot of green space would be worth more than land in the same neighborhood that’s adjacent to a busy roadway.
Depending on your exact needs, you’ll want to assess the location of the lot and its proximity to amenities like public transit, highways, schools, parks, and so forth. Security of the area is also important.
Zoning requirements for Real Estate
Zoning is a land-use regulation system that designates permitted and “extent of uses” of land in certain areas within certain municipalities. Some of the restrictions could include building height, plot coverage, and ratio, etc. For example, in areas near airports, buildings are restricted to a certain height. This is to avoid interfering with flight traffic or causing accidents since in such areas planes fly at a low attitude.
There are three major zoning classifications: commercial, residential, and industrial.
Zoning affects land value and usage. Before purchasing land for real estate, ensure you understand the prevailing zoning classification and whether or not it fits your intended use of the land.
The type of soil, the number of trees, and the elevation or flatness of the terrain are all elements of topography. This will affect where you can build a home and how much it’ll cost.
The ideal piece of land is one that has nice water drainage which may be because the soil doesn’t pool up water, the property is slightly sloped, or is highly elevated so it doesn’t collect much water. Relatively flat areas are typically easier to build on. Whereas you may incur more costs building on steep land, it has the added advantage of providing good views of the landscape.
Riparian and Road Reserves
Ensure that the piece of land you are considering to buy does not fall within a riverine reserve, flood plain or road reserve. A qualified and registered land surveyor, engaged early in the land buying process should be able to establish whether there is any riparian land attached to the land and advice accordingly.
The land surveyor will re-establish the beacons, confirm the size of land, and peek through the land’s survey history to identify any easements, building setbacks, or other restrictions on the property, which will affect your use and future development of the site.
For those buying land from land-selling companies, which has become common practice, ensure that the seller involved qualified surveyors during demarcation and subdivision.
Fault lines (in the Rift Valley)
Some areas within the Great Rift Valley Region are considered geologically unstable and are prone to experiencing subtle volcanic faulting, hence one needs to be vigilant when attempting to purchase land here. Some spots have very weak surface that cannot even sustain a single storey building.
Part of towns such as Nakuru have cracks and fissures that pose danger to tall buildings. This is why the town’s planners have always insisted on the construction of low-story buildings –– less than four floors. According to geologists, the proximity of the Menengai crater to the town makes the region’s surface weak and therefore unable to sustain heavy weight. The geologists also says the fissures cutting underneath the town open up during heavy rainfall with the potential to deepen over time.
A construction project management professional based in Nairobi, Kenya. Reach me on: email@example.com