Buying land – what you should pay attention to beforehand

Costs are certainly an important factor when buying land. However, potential house builders should have far more in mind when making their selection.

© DanBu.Berlin –

Constantly in conversation and especially among young families with double income very popular: The house building. However, building a house is a complex process in which there is a lot of potential for errors. What do you need to look out for before buying a plot of land to avoid problems as much as possible – and how does this determine the possibilities you have for building or creating a garden on the property?

The construction of a house always begins with the purchase of the property. This determines the majority of the possibilities that you as the building owner ultimately have. An open and flat area, which is completely developed, located in a municipality with only few specifications in the development plan, is of course the dream of every landlord in spe. But unfortunately it is not always that simple.

Buying land – the cost factor

There are two predominant factors in building a house that determine your options: Time and money. More difficult conditions usually lead to higher costs and possibly higher construction times. In order to be able to estimate your budget well and avoid delays, many factors should be considered before buying a property.

Short checklist:

❏ Basic Costs

  • Property costs (price per square metre)
  • Acquisition costs (land transfer tax, notary costs, land register entry, brokerage fees)
  • development costs (infrastructure: electricity, water, sewerage)
  • construction costs (construction preparation and permit, construction process)

❏ Additional or hidden costs:

  • Contaminated sites (soil analysis, disposal)
  • Terrain (hillside location)
  • Soil quality (soil expertise, loam soil, high groundwater level)

An example of a problem

Suppose the property you like is in a historically critical location and could be affected by contaminated sites. To check this in detail, you must consult the history of use of the area in the municipality’s records. The Environmental Agency can also provide information in order to identify possible risks. If you fail to do so, you as the owner of the property can be responsible for disposing of the deficiencies – which can involve extremely high costs. Therefore, the effort required by the pre-purchase checks is a necessary evil if you want to purchase a property with a clear conscience.

Dealing with the terrain correctly

Note any slope before buying – © Rosalie P. –

In addition to the cost factor, the choice of the building site also has great weight with regard to the possible uses. If the property is situated on a slope, the garden is often also affected. A modern approach is to bury the house at the rear end of the plot far into the slope. So this side – ideally the north side – is naturally insulated and you save so much energy in the long run. A possible garden would then have to be created in front of the house.

You also have to think about the design of the garden. The ground for the foundation of the house is removed, but often a steeper slope remains in the garden. Then it is necessary to terrace or fix the slope. There are various possibilities that can be easily combined with any type of garden design. If you have children, at least partial straightening is often necessary to create a level playing surface. However, the nature of the soil and additional circumstances such as slope water must be taken into account – your trusted landscaping expert can help.

Think of the garden when buying land

If you have a green thumb or would like to make friends with the gardener when buying your own home, you should be particularly careful when choosing a building site. The soil conditions can have a great influence on the design possibilities in your own garden. Clay soil not only makes excavations much more complex and thus more expensive when building, but also has bad characteristics for plant cultivation.

Of course, an unfavourable soil can also be seen as a welcome challenge, because when it comes to gardening, the motto is: “There is no such thing as impossible”. Even on very difficult ground, a small vegetable garden with a raised bed, surrounded by specially laid out beds and pots with flowers for visual enrichment, is no problem at all.

A larger obstacle is a poor alignment of the building area. If the location is unfavourable – for example on a northeast-facing slope – sunlight behind the house may be severely restricted under certain circumstances. With too little sunlight a garden is difficult to maintain. And without a warm, sunny spot in spring, your own garden is only half as much fun. The incidence of light should therefore be taken into account throughout the day.

Buy a plot of land – also pay attention to the surroundings!

In addition to the costs, there are of course other factors that need to be considered before buying a property. This starts with the situation: Those who come from the hectic city and finally build their own home in the suburbs are often looking forward to a secluded oasis of peace. In the long run, however, convenience in everyday life in terms of transport connections and surrounding infrastructure such as schools, doctors or shopping facilities should not be neglected.

In the same way, no matter how beautiful a property may be, it cannot meet your expectations if, for example, the development plan contains obligations that absolutely do not meet your expectations of a dream house. And even if this is not the case, caution is still required: A property in a quiet location with a beautiful cottage can become a nightmare after only a few years if the land use plan of the municipality is not observed. Within a few years, in the worst case, an industrial area could enclose the newly built home of your own – certainly nothing you had in mind for your future home.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

One thought on “Buying land – what you should pay attention to beforehand

  1. It’s not really that easy when you’re planning to buy land. You have a lot to consider and you may undergo a lot of processes. It’s good that you made a short checklist here, it’s good to ask for experts or do some research. Excellent content, by the way, buying land is really a great idea.

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