Buying land: the key points to know in 2021
April 19, 2021
Have you considered the idea of investing in land as part of your real estate acquisition project? A bare land is the opportunity to build your individual house there, or even to resell it later with a nice added value. But how do you choose? And what are the steps that lead to the acquisition of land? This section of the real estate buying guide is devoted to the key points to know before buying land.
How to choose the land to buy?
In this part, we will consider that your land purchase project aims to build a house.
The choice and purchase of the land are the first steps in a construction project for a single-family house. To carry out this process, many elements must be taken into account: the nature of the land envisaged, its configuration, its geographical location, as well as the administrative procedures which will lead to its acquisition.
Select location carefully
It is important to bear in mind that investing in land is tantamount to investing in a future real estate project, that is to say that you must choose the location with as much care as you wish. would put to select a house or an apartment already built. After all, you are going to reside there for many years to come! So pay attention to:
- The environment (neighborhood, green spaces, possible nuisances);
- Proximity to shops, public transport, road access, schools and health centers;
- Orientation and exposure (for maximum clarity).
Buy a land isolated or in subdivision
An isolated piece of land is not necessarily a piece of land located in the middle of nowhere, far from any civilization: it is a piece of land outside a subdivision, which does not come from the division of the same property. It is therefore possible to invest in isolated land in the city center, surrounded by buildings. Buying an isolated lot gives you great freedom of movement, since you can build whatever you want on it; on the other hand, this type of investment is more risky, because you cannot be certain of the condition and nature of the soil, the exact dimensions, etc.
A field development is the result of the division of the same property. The purchase of a plot of this type offers guarantees in terms of constructability and servicing (that is to say that the connections to the water, gas and electricity networks are logically planned). However, if you wish to have your own house built there, you will have to respect both architectural standards (types of materials, colors, etc.) and in terms of the immediate environment (fence, gate, letterbox, etc.). It is also possible that a specification establishes certain rules relating to collective life in the subdivision.
Buying land: the steps to follow
The purchase of land is not necessarily more complex than a traditional real estate purchase (house or apartment). However, you must take certain additional precautions and know the essential rules and procedures.
Precautions to be taken
In order to carry out your land purchase project (isolated or in subdivision), remember to check:
- The town planning certificate, to be requested from the town hall: it decides on the constructability of the land and gives indications on any standards to be respected and the constraints of development of the surroundings.
- The land use plan, also at the town hall: it groups together the construction rules applicable to the chosen plot, as well as the public or private utility easements (on the one hand, the passage of electric lines or pipes; d on the other hand, rights of way). Finally, it is in this document that you will find any neighborhood development projects: check that no one has planned to build a nightclub next to your future home!
- The specifications accompanying the purchase of land in subdivision.
- The surface of the isolated land and its exact boundaries. For this, the cadastre is not always sufficient. Take the advice of a surveyor who will demarcate your land, so as to define its dimensions and limits, according to the title deeds of your land and the neighbors. He will establish a document that all parties can sign, and that must be filed in the Mortgage File for protection purposes.
Finally, remember to check the floors. Difficult ground can generate significant additional construction costs. Clay and alluvial soils, in particular, pose more problems than others. Also watch out for natural voids in basements, as well as artificial voids such as old mines or mushroom beds.
The formalities to be completed
Once you have got your hands on the right plot and are ready to proceed with your land purchase project, you need to:
- Sign a sales agreement with the seller (you do not then benefit from the 7-day withdrawal period that accompanies the signing of a conventional agreement, but you can ask the seller to insert it into the contract).
- Put together your financing file (see next sub-section).
- Sign the final deed of sale, approximately 3 months after signing the sales agreement.
During this last step, you finalize your land purchase by paying the balance of the sale price, to which must be added the notary fees.
Finance your land purchase
Investing in land and building a house are two different financial operations. However, you can combine the two and benefit, for example, from a zero rate loan + (PTZ +) attached to your mortgage to finance a purchase of land, but only if this acquisition is followed by the construction of a ‘a detached house intended to become your main residence.
There are other aids for financing your land purchase, on condition that you build it afterwards. Visit this page to learn more. In addition, do not forget that a new construction is exempt from property tax for 2 years following the end of the work (or even up to 5 years if your house meets the latest standards in force, BBC or RT 2012); and that local authorities grant aid or loans for this type of construction. Inquire!
The peculiarities of a non-building land
- First of all, ask yourself the question: do you intend to build on this land one day? If the answer is yes, you must find out if this land will be able to obtain a derogation in this direction (to ask at the town hall). A non-constructible land which becomes constructible gains a lot in value.
- The price per square meter is much lower for non-building land than for building land.
- You can get a home loan for the purchase of non-building land. Talk to your banker / broker.
If the land in question never becomes constructible, what can it be used for? Well: as a recreation area, as a piece of private forest, for horseback riding or raising animals … Anything is possible, as long as you do not raise a house or a building!