“Is buying land without a house easier than buying a land with a home on it?”

I get this question a lot, but there is no straight forward yes or no answer. It really comes down to the makeup of the lot. If it is flat, needs minimal grading, and on a sewer, then it can be an easy. But, most of my buyers are looking for land in Malibu and Topanga, and the local challenges add up quick.

When you buy the lot, it typically takes a team of professionals to make sure you get that prime space to build your dream home.

The best place to start is a professional Realtor who can help you locate suitable places, make sure you price it correctly, guide you through the transaction, and help you build the network of other professionals you’ll need.

For example, it is most often the case that you’ll want an architect who can design your home to your specifications. Architects can be expensive, but a good one is well worth it. They can coordinate with the builder and engineer.

Engineer? If the land is not on a sewer it will need a septic system. And most of the time that means you’ll need a certified engineer who can prepare a grading plan.

Unless you are paying cash, you’ll also need to have a mortgage broker who knows how land-financing works, it is more specialized than a typical loan.

And then there are all those approvals and permits. Here we have fire department requirements, Costal Commission approvals, City, County, all who have a say. The last thing you want is to buy a great looking property only to learn that you’ll never be able to build on it! While the real estate broker typically won’t get them for you, they can guide you through the issues.

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