It is easy to get carried away when you lay eyes on a piece of land for the first time. Getting too attached before clearing up infrastructure questions and viewing the property through the eyes of an engineer is never good. You should always make sure that the property does not have any obvious problems that makes it impossible or very expensive to build a house. This chapter goes through the most important items that helps to answer if there are any problems or not.
8.1 Clear access
Clear access to land is often a problem and your partner(s) should be able to help you confirm how you will be able to access the land in the future. And remember that a road that connects to your land might be built on private land. This can become very expensive and this problem is discussed further in the chapter Due Diligence and Research.
8.2 Public Utilities or Infrastructure
Life is tough without utilities such as electricity, phone and water. If water comes from a private well, is the water in the area unpolluted and plentiful? Well water can be salty and the well might dry up in the dry season. Check availability and cost of utilities. Sometimes the only way to obtain electricity is on the black market.
8.3 Everything Belongs to you?
Make sure that trees and structures on your land is not owned by someone else. It is not uncommon for someone else to own trees or even structures on land offered to be sold. Make sure you know what you are buying and not.
8.4 Check the Drainage
Think about how the rain water will drain away during a hard rainfall. Flat areas may drain easily to an existing drainage ditch while some are prone to flooding. In case the flow pattern is difficult to identify, the owner should be able to show you a drainage ditch that leads to a nearby creek. Some flat areas nearby a stream might get flooded by the overflowing stream. The more at risk of flooding, the more fill work is needed to protect your property, which is more expensive. Roads on your land can help to facilitate the drainage and it is very common that man-made roads are equipped with a drainage ditch aside of the road.
8.5 Check the Stability
When the land is located on or next to a steep slope then the risk of landslides or mud-flows should be evaluated. All of Lombok was formed by volcanic activity and hillside slopes are generally very steep. It is possible to look for past landslides if you know what to look for.
The picture below reveals that a block of earth has slid downhill onto the road. At the top of the slide, where the dirt has moved downhill, a characteristic stair-step scarp can be seen. A debris pile can be seen at the base of the slope. Evidence of a smaller landslide can be seen about halfway up the hill. In this cases, both landslides are relatively small. The stair-step shape is a characteristic of any landslide prone area. You don’t want to build a house on that soil.
8.6 Double Check Everything
Make sure to have sufficient time to research all aspects of the property during the due diligence phase before making any agreement to purchase the land. You should have time to double check everything mentioned in this chapter.
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