Before You Make an Offer to Acquire Land

Aside from carefully inspecting the property, prior to making an offer to buy a parcel of land anywhere in California, you should:

  • Determine if the land has been surveyed so you can accurately describe it in a purchase offer by means of a meets and bounds description, or recorded map.
  • Determine whether you have access from a city or county-maintained road whether paved or not. If the property is landlocked, you will need an easement from an adjoining landowner to obtain access.
  • Determine whether utilities including, electricity, water, natural gas, and sewer service are immediately available. If not, can they be brought to the subject property at a reasonable price, or are they reasonably expected to be available in near future?
  • If water is not readily available, is it economically feasible to drill a water well?
  • Research to determine if any easements exist on the property that would be detrimental, including a conservation easement.
  • Determine the zoning of the property and whether any overlay zoning exists that would allow or interfere with your plans for the property.
  • Determine the zoning and whether any overlay zoning exists on adjoining or nearby properties that might create a negative influence on the subject property or prevent you from using the property as you would choose to use it.
  • Determine if adequate cell phone and internet services are available.
  • Determine whether there are any possible environmental hazards to be concerned about. For example, was the site used for above ground or underground storage of gasoline; oil, lead, asbestos or other hazardous materials.
  • Determine whether the land is home to any endangered or protected species.
  • Determine whether the mineral rights are included or excluded. This includes the rights to underground oil reserves.
  • Determine whether any timber is infested with pine beetles or other pests.
  • Determine whether any plans have been publicly announced to take all or any portion of the property by eminent domain.
  • Determine how the nearby landowners are using their property to make certain those uses do not interfere with your plans.
  • Determine whether the land is in a flood zone.
  • Determine whether any part of the land has been designated as a wetland.

Public Reports in California