- County Buildable Record
- Land Survey
- Vacant Parcels & Abandoned Properties
- Funding & Wiring
- Fees – Who Pays For What (Buyer/Seller)
- Property Tax Information
If your desire is to purchase vacant land in the U.S., you need to educate yourself on some of the restrictions that may be placed on the development of that land. For instance, if you are choosing to build your dream home, you need to clearly understand the zoning restriction of the land. Your Homes2USA REALTOR® will guide you through the process which may involve land survey, soil testing, City/County zoning restrictions, flood areas, earthquake zones, and utilities.
The Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), Architectural Review Committees (ARCs), and development costs must be considered and researched.
Your lender will communicate the down payment required for vacant land, which can run from 20-50% down. Not every lender offers land loans. In addition, land loans are generally for a shorter term than mortgage loans, usually 10-15 years. Land loans may also be offered at a higher rate. If you need lender recommendations, your Homes2USA REALTOR® can provide recommendations.
Here are some common terms to help you understand California Real Estate:
County Buildable Record
A potential building site may or may not be properly classified as a buildable lot. Each state, county and city has their own definitions of the term. For many, a buildable site is one in which every level of government has granted permission for construction to commence. Having a permissible building site may not always constitute a cost effective building. It is imperative that the potential buyer of vacant land perform due diligence to insure it is a buildable site as they envision.
Land use is governed by a wide-ranging set of regulations at the local, state, and sometimes federal level. Uses may also be restricted contractually through protective covenants and other deed restrictions. We advise all our potential buyers to do their research.
Land Surveying is the detailed study or inspection in the support of planning, designing, and establishing property boundaries. It involves the re-establishment of cadastral surveys and land boundaries based on documents of record and historical evidence, as well as certifying surveys (as required by stature or local ordinance) of subdivision plats/maps, registered land surveys, judicial surveys, and space delineation. Land surveys are used in the definition of legal boundaries for land ownership.
Vacant Parcels & Abandoned Properties
The National Vacant Properties Campaign (NVPC) defines vacant properties as residential, commercial, and industrial buildings and vacant lots that exhibit one or both of the following traits:
- The site poses a threat to public safety (meeting the definition of a public nuisance), or
- The owners or managers neglect the fundamental duties of property ownership (i.e. they fail to pay taxes or utility bills, default on mortgages, or carry liens against the property)
Vacant properties can include abandoned, boarded-up buildings, unused lots that attract trash and debris, vacant or under-performing commercial properties known as greyfields (such as under-leased shopping malls and strip commercial properties), and neglected industrial properties with environmental contamination known as brownfields. The NVPC also monitors deteriorating single-family homes, apartments with significant housing code violations and housing that remains vacant for long periods of time, as these are indicators of future vacancy and abandonment. State laws and uniform building codes further refine what constitutes an abandoned building, but these vary according to jurisdiction.
Electronic signatures (eSignature) on real estate documents are utilized more and more in the United States, as transactions are moving away from the utilization of mounds of paper to an electronic and digital footprint. There are still some financial institutions that do not accept eSignatures. Our REALTORS® will communicate with you regarding the acceptance of eSignatures for your real estate transaction and educate you on the process along the way.
Funding & Wiring
All monies to purchase real estate are kept in an escrow account. A title company will send written instructions for depositing checks/money orders or wiring of money into the account. It can take 24-48 hours for funds to be available. Therefore, be prepared to wire funds 2 days prior to the date as specified in the purchase contract. Your Homes2USA REALTORS®/Escrow Officer will educate you on the specifics for your real estate transaction.
Fees – Who Pays For What (Buyer/Seller)
In addition to the sales price of a home, there are additional costs associated with finalizing the transaction. These fees, or closing costs, may vary by location. Your lender, Escrow Company, and Homes2USA REALTOR® will guide you through the process.
All closing costs must be listed on your HUD-1 settlement form, a document that is prepared by your escrow officer and is required to be filled out prior to finalizing the purchase of your home.
A few of these fees may include:
- Real Estate Broker Commission/Fees
- Loan Fees – Direct loan costs
- “Prepaids Interest” required by the lender to be paid in advance
- Title and Closing charges
- Recording/Government Filing Fees
- Other/Miscellaneous Charges
- Harmful Fees that could appear on the HUD-1
Property Tax Information
A property tax (or millage tax) is a levy on property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state, a county/region, or a municipality. Multiple jurisdictions may tax the same property.
- Land, improvements to land (immovable man-made objects, such as buildings)
- Personal property (movable man-made objects)
- Intangible Property, also known as incorporeal property, describes something which a person or corporation can have ownership of and can transfer ownership of to another person or corporation, but has no physical substance. It generally refers to statutory creations such as copyright, trademarks, or patents.
- Real property (also called real estate or realty) means the combination of land andimprovements. Structures (i.e. the house) are taxed separately from land. Under a property tax system, the government requires and/or performs an appraisal of the monetary value of each property, and tax is assessed in proportion to that value. Forms of property tax used vary among countries and jurisdictions.
A special assessment tax is sometimes confused with property tax. These are two distinct forms of taxation: one (ad valorem tax) relies upon the fair market value of the property being taxed for justification, and the other (special assessment) relies upon a special enhancement called a “benefit” for its justification.
The property tax rate is often given as a percentage. It may also be expressed as a per mil (amount of tax per thousand currency units of property value), which is also known as a millage rate or mill is also one-thousandth of a currency unit.) To calculate the property tax, the authority will multiply the assessed value of the property by the mill rate and then divide by 1,000. For example, a property with an assessed value of $50,000 located in a municipality with a mill rate of 20 mills would have a property tax bill of $1,000 per year.