Subdivision Questions: Why Have a Land Appraisal Before You Buy?

5 November 2018
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


If you have your eye on a piece of development land that you want to subdivide for housing, then you need to do some due diligence before you buy. For example, you should consider having a land surveyor do an initial appraisal of the plot. Why is an appraisal important at this stage?

Is the Land Suitable for Subdivision?

You may think the land is perfect for a set of new homes; however, you're not in charge of making this decision. Before you can subdivide, you need local council or state approval. If your plans don't meet local subdivision requirements, you won't be able to go ahead with the project.

An initial appraisal doesn't guarantee that you'll get approval to subdivide, but it gives you an idea if your project is feasible. Local land surveyors know all about subdivision in the area. They can spot a perfect plot. They can also spot problems that may make it hard for you to get approval to build the homes you want to develop on the land.

If a surveyor doesn't see any significant problems, then you can go ahead with the purchase and start the subdivision application process. If they spot issues that make the project completely unfeasible for you, then you can back out of buying the plot. You won't waste money paying for land you don't want to build on any longer.

Are Your Plans Likely to Be Approved?

Your land surveyor doesn't just assess the land that you want to subdivide. They'll also look at your plans and talk to you about what you want to do with the site. If the surveyor thinks you won't get approval for some aspects of the subdivision work, they can talk to you about alternative solutions.

By the end of the appraisal, you'll be more informed. If the surveyor spots holes or problems in your initial plans, you can modify the project accordingly. This means that you stand a better chance of getting approval to subdivide when you get to planning submission stages.

You'll need a land surveyor at some point during the subdivision process, so it makes sense to make contacts early. Most surveyors offer free initial appraisals on subdivision plots. While these appraisals may not be as comprehensive as the help the surveyor gives you later, they are a useful way to assess if your project is likely to work out.