Investing in the right piece of land is not always as simple as it would seem. Imagining your dream home is a romantic experience, but there are some very concrete factors which could make the difference between a good and a great investment. Whatever the intention, there’s plenty to know before investing.
The three golden rules: Location, location, location. Start by developing a general idea of where you’d like to purchase. Go for a drive and use online resources to help you. If you’re buying vacant land to build a house you’ll likely want to consider things like access to schools, your job, grocery shopping and restaurants. Google Maps is an excellent way to get a broader idea of an area. If the land is for business use, carefully analyze the location from a business perspective.
2. Title Deed Conditions
If there are servitudes on the plot they will be referred to in the title deed. A servitude is a registered right that one person has over another person’s property. An example is the right of way to travel through another person’s property in order to reach your own property. The local authority might have registered a servitude over a specific property in order to ensure access to services.
There are often restrictive conditions in a title deed which might affect your plans. Be sure to take a good look.
3. Zoning Restrictions
The zoning scheme governs what you are allowed to build. Zoning is the division of land into subdivisions that will have varying restrictions of what can be built on each piece of property for example: residential, commercial or industrial.
The zoning scheme also contains information relating to coverage, bulk, height restrictions and boundary setbacks. For example; a 30x22m (660m2) erf has a setback of 3m to all sides and 3.5m along the roadside, which means you only have around 336m2 to build on. Now consider a couple of strategically placed protected trees, an example would be the Stone Pines on the slopes of Signal Hill, and what initially appeared to be a straightforward build becomes tricky. You can seek out the city council to find out more or approach an architect for guidance.
4. Future Development
Do your research regarding the city’s long-term land use plans and scheduled road additions in the area. Those will dictate future construction and could mean the difference between a nice quiet front yard and a house uncomfortably close to a busy road.
Any vacant lot you’re considering for a home or business will need services: electricity, telephone, water, sewage. You’ll want some or all of those connected to your property when construction begins. Some land parcels will already have these services installed but it’s best to check before hand. Vacant erven that aren’t close enough to water and sewage lines will need wells and septic systems to gain access to water and sewage.
6. Land Survey
One potential cost many buyers tend to overlook is a land survey. You may need to hire a land surveyor to chart out the boundaries of your property as well as any significant trees, rocks etc. which might have an impact on what you choose to build. Surveys costs vary based on location, size and complexity.
7. Building Permit
You will need to appoint a professional to assist you in obtaining permission from the local authority to build your dream. The process involves the submission of plans of the proposed building to the local authority for scrutiny. These plans will need to comply with the zoning scheme as well as the South African National Standards. Obtaining a building permit can be a pain but in the end it protects you and those around you, and going through the right channels will guarantee a solid and legal investment.
If you need an outside opinion on that dream plot or if you have questions or need assistance with any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact KUBE architecture.