Buying Comox Valley land often has different considerations than buying Comox Valley homes. I often get asked questions related to the purchase of land in the Comox Valley so I thought that I would write a blog on the topic. Buying real estate in the form of land is similar to buying a home, but with some added and different buyers considerations.
First is location. Just like buying a home, real estate location is important. It is important to find out as much as you can about the Comox Valley land itself. What surrounds the land and what is nearby? Are there developments planned that may affect your future enjoyment of the land? Are there roads, highways or other things planned such as major power lines or water towers?
Second is municipal governance. Is the land located in a rural region of the Comox Valley Regional District or an urban area like the City of Courtenay? For example, the land may be located in a rural area controlled by a regional district or it may be in an urban area controlled by a city. If the Comox Valley land parcel is located in a rural area, are there any plans for annexation by a nearby urban area? Why is it important to know this? Because there may be differences in zoning regulations, servicing, property taxes, etc.
Third is access. How accessible is the land. Are there highways and roads already established to allow easy access to the land? Is the access direct from a public roadway to the land or is the access via some other property?
Fourth is zoning. What kind of zoning has been established for the land? Find out what the zoning means so that you can find out the permitted principal and accessory uses for the land. Understand the regulations that concern minimum lot size, minimum lot frontage, maximum building and structure height, setbacks, etc.
Fifth is title. What is current on the title? The title will include things such as the registered owners, the type of estate and ownership and interests less than estates that apply to the land. Caveats, Covenants and a number of other things may appear on title that can affect your enjoyment and use of the land.
Sixth is Restrictive Covenants. A Restrictive Covenant imposes a restriction on the use of the land. Building Schemes are common forms of such covenants. Are there any? If there are, what restrictions apply to things like construction, siting, use, etc.?
Seventh is Easements. An easement is a privilege acquired by, for example, a Comox Valley landowner over the land of another. For example, there may be a right of way through the property to provide access to something else such as a lake.
Eighth is water. Is there water currently available to the property? Is the water available through a well? If it is, is the well shallow or deep? If shallow, is the well prone to drying out during the peak summer period? Is it prone to any adverse effect from the rainiest part of the year? If a deep well, are there any contaminants? Is there a Water Well Log, drilling report, water pump installation record, or water testing records? Was the test a Basic Potability or Comprehensive Water Test? If water is drawn from something like a nearby lake, is there a water license? Is there a municipal water supply that runs to the property?
Ninth is sewerage. What is the sewerage plan for the land? Will it or does it have a septic system? What type of system? Are there records of installation and servicing? Will it or does it have access to a municipal sewerage system?
Tenth is other. There are many other things that could impact the use of the land. For example, a rural property may be in the Comox Valley Agricultural Land Reserve. ALR land has specified uses and limitations on subdivision. If the land is near a watercourse such as a stream that is connected to a watercourse that provides fish habitat, the Riparian Regulation will apply. This regulation establishes a Riparian Assessment Area within which there are restrictions on what can be done with the land.
This blog just scratches the surface on the buyers info on many of the issues that can affect the purchase of land in British Columbia. Since each situation is unique, each piece of land should be considered on its own merits. If you are considering the purchase of land in the Comox Valley and are looking for help and advice, contact me directly or through RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty in either Comox or Courtenay and I would be pleased to help you with this important purchase.