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Old 11-24-2014, 10:20 AM
8 posts, read 13,834 times
Reputation: 15


Hi everyone - hope you are all well this week!

My husband and I are looking at buying some land in Larkspur - currently we own a home in Castle Rock and want to move a little further away from the "city" and want land to build on. Neither of us have ever bought land before and the land we are looking at is about 20 acres in the Larkspur area and does not have utilities/water/septic on the property yet. We would buy and then add the utilities. The property is a corner lot and there are utilities at the road (there is a house directly across the street). The property is also approved for A1 Zoning.

My first questions:
What do I need to look for when buying land to build on?
Where can I get this information quickly and ideally, free?

Do you know anything about pricing out the cost to add utilities?

Thanks for any info you all have! Any information is helpful.
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:25 AM
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,349,752 times
Reputation: 2668
Originally Posted by msaften View Post
What do I need to look for when buying land to build on?
Where can I get this information quickly and ideally, free?
Do you know anything about pricing out the cost to add utilities?
I live just south of Larkspur and have purchased land and other real estate in the area.

Among other things, you'll nee to find out about:
- water rights and tap fees for any particular lot you are looking at, which you can find out from the city of Larkspur and/or Douglass county admin offices, depending on where/how the property is zoned.
- soil studies to tell you how build-able the land is and if you should anticipate additional costs like concrete piers in clay, blasting through treads, major drainage work, etc. You can contract such a study with a local drilling + geo company or the info may be available from the previous owner if it's been done recently)
- local tax rates for unbuilt & built property. Often there is a premium on undeveloped land before it's even built so it will already be high and then go up a little after building. Also Douglas county has relatively high tax rates compared to surrounding area. You can find current tax rates by searching here: https://apps.douglas.co.us/apps/asse...impleSearch.do and you can call the assessor's office for more info.
- applicable zoning, convenants or other restrictions which may limit what you can and cannot build, and where/how it needs to be placed. It can also dictate what you can do after it is build (like run a business, own, chickens, store an RV, etc...) so you can;t know too much about all that before hand. You can get some zoning information through the county and/or city, but often the best source of info is knowledgeable prospective neighbors, especially if you happen to know one on the local HOA/LRC or whatever.
- the ins and outs of contracting and building in your area, including pulling permits, available sub contract services, building materials, labor laws, and so on and so on.

In short, there is much to know before making a major purchase of land, especially if you plan to build on it. And you can never know too much about it. There is no single, easy source of reliable, & accurate info on it. A good realtor who is experienced in your area (I know one I can recommend privately, BTW) can help you get started but you will need to double check and research everything yourself as well as get legal and tax advice to be safe, none of which is ever really FREE!

Maybe you should just buy an existing home. It's a lot simpler, less unpredictable, and often more affordable in the end. It's also more environmentally and economically responsible, IMO, but that's just my opinion and I can understand why not everyone sees it that way

Last edited by Mike from back east; 11-24-2014 at 11:40 AM.. Reason: south, not sour
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Old 11-24-2014, 12:11 PM
Location: Black Forest, CO
1,454 posts, read 2,080,586 times
Reputation: 1351
If you have a builder you are considering using in the area, get them involved BEFORE you purchase a lot.
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