Recently, I have been more involved with people looking to purchase vacant land in Snohomish County for recreational uses or for a custom home.
As residents of Snohomish County know, the topography allows for a variety of different types of settings – river and lake front, mountain and territorial views, old growth forests and protected growth areas are just some attributes buyers are looking for. Each of these property types pose unique challenges.
Challenges of Vacant Land
– Determine how much of the land is usable through an environmental impact study. It is easier to spend a few hundred dollars to conduct a study then it is to purchase a property that can’t be used as intended.
– Has the property been tested (perked) to see if it can have a septic system installed (only if the property cannot be attached to city sewer)?
– Is there access to potable water on the property from either a well, share water source, or through city hook ups?
– Will the property require excavation to construct a access area?
– What are all the permits required to take a piece of raw land and make it livable, and most off, legal? In addition, what are all the costs associated with the many permits required?
– Take some time to walk the property and get a feel for the topography, wetness or dryness of the soil, and how much brush/trees are on the property.
– Visit the Snohomish County Planning & Development’s office for questions on properties and use their online resources (personal favorites: boundary line maps, planning & development homepage, assistance bulletins).
Here is an example from the other day while out showing land.
The subject property was located on the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River, outside Arlington, and from the online pictures the parcel looked like it was a gorgeous river front. But online pictures can be deceiving. Part of the problem with online pictures is advertising itself. Real estate agents do a great job of photographing a property to make it appear as good as it can.
The downside is the pictures may not truly represent the condition of the property. With a slight change of camera angle it is easy to avoid marshy sections and to skip out on other not so desirable areas.
Vacant and raw land has its challenges but if you are wanting to take the time and energy to go through the whole process the reward could feel like another world.