Residential vacant land development

4 Replies

Hello all! A friend and I are considering acquiring 21 acres of vacant land upstate ny, supposedly without utilities access. As we both have zero experience when it comes to land development we are both consuming as much literature on it as possible. Was hoping some of you more experienced in land development could perhaps suggest some more literature and maybe the steps we should take in doing our due diligence on this property. Considering the area it is in we were thinking of developing multiple str’s possibly in the tiny home/cabin category but are open to other suggestions as well.

Looking forward to hearing from you all thanks in advance!!

Originally posted by @Richard Robertson :

Hello all! A friend and I are considering acquiring 21 acres of vacant land upstate ny, supposedly without utilities access. As we both have zero experience when it comes to land development we are both consuming as much literature on it as possible. Was hoping some of you more experienced in land development could perhaps suggest some more literature and maybe the steps we should take in doing our due diligence on this property. Considering the area it is in we were thinking of developing multiple str’s possibly in the tiny home/cabin category but are open to other suggestions as well.

Looking forward to hearing from you all thanks in advance!!

A lot depends on location and what it is you want to do. First step is to determine if the project will even work from a financial standpoint. Start with the end value of the buildings or lots and work backwards. You will need ball park cost estimates from site work contractors for site work, roads, installation of utility lines etc. For general infill, subdivisions and scattered lots builders can generally pay 20-25% of the value or sale price of the house for the land depending on demand and price point. This is for a finished lot ready to build. Not necessarily cleared but all roads, utilities etc ready to break ground. You can call some local production and spec builders and ask them what they can pay for lots. Usually They will tell you. After you determine the price point on the lots you work backwards form there and subtract all costs of the development and a profit margin you are happy with to determine the price you can pay for the raw land. I like a 30% margin for net profit just to be safe

Next check with the city or county to determine if you can do what you want to do and what is required for all zoning approvals and the time frame. You want to find out what the bonding requirements are, inspections, CO process, General permit fees, proffers, water/sewer tap fees and the process of setting taps and connecting, do you need to install manholes or fire hydrants. Ask if you have to install curb, gutter, sidewalks, street signs, street lighting or any other special requirements. Are there any specific street design or access requirements, DOT requirements, permits or traffic studies. DWQ, Army Corp or any other environmental requirements or permits. You also need to check with the utility companies and get cost estimates from them for availability, fees, hookup charges, transformer and power line/power pole locations or relocation requirements, water, sewer, gas, cable etc

This is just a quick high level overview f the process but will give you some things to think about and a good starting point.