Acquiring land seems relatively easy. Many people believe that once you have identified the right location and get the site under contract you are ready to build. The hard part has actually just begun. First and foremost it is critical to have a reasonable due diligence period as well as rights to extend that period. During the due diligence period you must evaluate many facts that may or may not affect what you are trying to develop. Site feasibility is a critical step that very quickly can make the perfect site an impossible site. Some of the factors included in site feasibility are as follows:
- Survey the land to make sure the property boundaries are accurate. Many times brokers/agents walk the property with the seller and put survey stakes in the ground. Yes, gps on our phones has improved tremendously over the years but not enough to accurately survey a parcel.
- Prepare site specific schematic drawings to see if what you want to build will fit on the site. Many parcels seem like they are the right acreage but depending on the typography your building could require twice as much land.
- Verify local zoning codes and regulations. Your use may not be accepted in the location you selected.
- Evaluate if the site has covenants and restrictions currently in place. This can be very costly if you don't properly budget for the required improvements such as masonry exteriors, landscaping, parking ratio's, etc.
- Evaluate access constraints for ingress and egress of the site. Will your use trigger road/highway improvements such as turning lanes or signalized intersections?
- Does the site have existing entitlements?
- What are the soil conditions? Brining on a reputable environmental firm is critical. Most sites will require a geotech report, wetlands survey, endangered species report (yes, this can be a deal breaker), flood elevation plan and a traffic study.
- Have a title report prepared.
- Does the land have any easements?
Although these are just a few factors of evaluating site feasibility, this process is one of the first steps to evaluate for an expansion or build to suit project.