Whether it’s the call of the wild or the desire to build the home of your dreams, buying land is a goal of many Canadians. But the dream can be a nightmare if you don’t do your homework.
If you are planning on building a home, make sure the land is suitable for your plans. Is it swampy, rocky or sloped? Does it have road access? Is it serviced with utilities? How about waterfront? To buy a property only to discover you can’t build on it is heartbreaking, so be sure to research and prepare.
Some websites, such as www.landwatch.com and www.landandfarm.com, can provide listings for land in specific areas. However, using a local real estate agent can help narrow your search and find you properties with the characteristics you need for your dream. Tap into the local knowledge of your agent to connect you with the municipality to ensure your dream home fits by-law restrictions. By-laws vary between municipalities, so don’t assume that what is legal in one area will be also be legal in another. If you plan on building a hobby farm, make sure you research all of the restrictions on building barns, the number of animals you are permitted to keep, manure storage, etc. Waterfront, even the tiniest stream, has its own set of rules, so do your homework now to prevent disappointment later.
If you have excellent credit and high income and equity, a traditional mortgage with a higher down payment and interest rate is a possibility. If your means are more modest, you may consider a line of credit against your existing home and turning to a more traditional mortgage once your dream home is complete. Speak to a broker about other mortgages that may suit your needs.