The Lot Feasibility Study
Before you purchase vacant land you want to make sure that all features promised are really existing, that no other problems are there like buried water pipes running through the building site and that you not unknowingly assume open utility assessments or other debts like impact fees etc.
It does not make a difference whether you buy to build your own home or simply make an investment: a professional examination should always be done - no matter how inexpensive the lot might be! Involve a surveyor to know it all!
In general we are able to verify most of the information by means of the city's own geographical information system (GIS):
- Zoning (can you erect the type of building that you planned for)
- Name and address of the seller
- Tax value
- Open city utility assessments (in Cape Coral)
- Other open amounts like impact fees
- Property dimensions and boundaries of the lot according to the online plat book and GIS system
However there are a couple very important things that the surveyor has to verify :
- The buildability of the lot (buried pipes, burrowing owl or other nests, mangroves and other protected species and plants)
- The actual square footage of the lot (in case of an error in the online parcel information)
The survey includes not only the total square footage but also the exact boundaries, building lines, easements, the right of way as well as the height of the lot etc. depending on whether you just order a boundary survey or upgrade it to a building survey
Example: Each buildable site in Cape Coral must have 2 lots and consist of at least 10,000 sq ft.
When checking for buildability you do not only want to know whether you can and are allowed to build a structure in a certain size but also whether you can build that structure at all depending on the condition of the parcel.
Example: A parcel, presently consisting of 2 lots, could have been part of another lot earlier in time - 50% of the parcel (=lot #1) could have belonged to a 3 lot site adjacent to the left as well as the other 50% of the parcel (=lot #2) could have belonged to a 3 lot site adjacent to the left. Due to the situation back then the city built the street's drainage system (stormwater pipe) accordingly and routed the pipe down to the canal on the side of the 3 lot property which means it was located in the middle of the two 3-lot sites. When one lot of this site gets split off later and added to the other adjacent lot of the other 3 lot property a new 2 lot site came into existence. In this specific case the drainage pipe now runs down the middle of this newly created property. Before you can build a seawall on this site you will have to relocate the pipe to the side of the property which can cost you more than $20,000. If you know this in time you can either renegotiate the price of the property to cover for this issue or you simply cancel the contract within the feasability study period. This examination can be done easily - therefore make sure you order a survey from a licensed surveyor who can confirm this in writing or can access information at the city's building department.