Land Building Approval Question

3 Replies

Hi everyone,

Where I live in NY a vacant land parcel needs to have Board of Health Approval (BOHA) in order to build on it.  If you wanted to buy a lot that does not have existing BOHA and were able to get as many tests as possible done ahead of purchasing (perc test, soil test, engineering, surveyor, talking to town building dept. etc.) and they all came back ok I'm wondering if anyone has ever heard of still ending up with an unbuildable lot somehow.  

I have done a few flips in the past but for my own personal residence now I want to buy a vacant lot and do a new construction build.   I'm definitely going to get an agent who is familiar with land but it's new territory for me and I'm still a little nervous about doing all the proper due diligence and still ending up with a useless lot (land in this area is NOT cheap) so it would be a big loss.

Thanks for any thoughts on this.

@Beth Clerc

Oh yes! This’s the risk you take in development but doing all the due diligence you can on the front end mitigates that risk substantially . I think you hit most of the key items but I didn’t see anything about Utilites?...this is hit or miss in our area and can really rack up the price or blow up a deal on the front end. We had the city tell us one thing and months later they changed their mind...long story on that one but we didn’t get anything in writing and they had some people changes. Lots of things that can happen but hire professionals when you can and maybe partner up or consult with someone locally that has been through the process. If you are really new and don’t have anyone you know then go to the city and ask them anything and everything you can...planning, zoning, building departments, fire, development, Enviromental, concurrency  ect. ect. that is there job and why we pay taxes. Yes takes a lot of time but like you said big money is at risk....

Thanks very much.  I was sure it still happens even with doing as much prep as you can.  Thanks very much for giving the example of city changing their mind. I can totally see that happening.  

I get told I over think things which may not be good for some smaller things in life but in this case I think my well honed over thinking skills may come in handy.    

Take care,

I would get the advice of local reputable builder that currently builds in your local municipality.  They will be able to navigate the process and give you advice if the lot is suitable to build.  I have come across a lot of lots that just aren't aren't worth building on for many different types of reason (soils, subsurface water, etc..).  They will also save you a lot of time and effort jumping through hoops of permitting, zoning and make the build process much easier.