LAND BUYING, SELLING & DEVELOPMENT

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Drive down any of the many country roads throughout the outskirts of Hampton Roads and the Counties of Northeast North Carolina and you'll find it's common to see mile-plus deep farm fields. There are countless massive farmlands in our region. This area of the country provides a wide range of quality land for purchase with attributes for personal home development, residential and commercial development, farming, ranching, timber, hunting, environmental and recreational use. All within an hour's drive of Hampton Road's urban areas.

In North Carolina, I'm a licensed NC REALTOR® with The Banks Real Estate Group in Coinjock, NC. With the current population boom we are experiencing in Currituck County, our brokerage possesses a specialty in the sale and purchase of land. Currituck County in particular is experiencing substantial economic growth over other surrounding counties due to its proximity to commute to Hampton Road's, its vacation feel as the main southerly route to the OBX and Southern Shores, Duck, Corolla and Carova Beach's oceanfront tourism.

The oceanfront aspect of the County features tracts of land for vacation home development; Route 168/158 offers numerous residential and commercial land tracts with some extending to Currituck or Albemarle Sound waterways; and the inner County features huge tracts of farm, timber, hunting and residential development land for sale. Camden, Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties also feature varying tracts of land sales for the same purposes. Huge solar farms are a common feature - with a few wind farms in-between - throughout the region.

Of course, there's also plenty of land development opportunities throughout the urban and rural areas of Hampton Roads.

Types of Land Purchases

Private Residential

For those wanting to buy a tract of land to build a home on, it starts with finding the tract of land that suits your purposes. Whether it be for homesteading, hunting, boating, fishing or just wanting to live somewhat isolated from your neighbors, there are lots of options in our region. We can also help with connecting you to a quality home builder to make your dream a reality.

Residential Development

For residential neighborhood developers, we can assist in finding the right tract of land for you working with local municipality requirements to make it happen.

Farm & Solar Land Leasing

We don't negotiate farm or solar land leasing for clients, however it is something to take into consideration if your looking to buy a large tract of land as an investment. It can most certainly offer a means to generate income as you're holding onto it. 60% or more of farmlands in the counties of Northeast North Carolina are leased out. For more resources concerning farmland leasing, visit NC Farmlink.

The vast majority of it is for farming or ranching, however large tracts are also being leased for solar panel farms.  View this publication for recent info on NC Solar Farm Land Leasing.

Regional Zoning & Planning Resources

Zoning and/or planning resources for land development in the cities and counties of Hampton Roads and NE NC. Some towns and communities may have additional requirements for land use within their municipal or community limits.

Virginia (Hampton Roads)
City of Hampton
City of Newport News
York County
- City of Poquoson
City of Suffolk
City of Chesapeake
City of Portsmouth
City of Norfolk
City of Virginia Beach
Isle of Wight County

North Carolina
Currituck County
- Laurel Woods Estates HOA
- Monteray Shores HOA - Carolla
- Southern Shores Civic Assoc.
- The Currituck Club HOA
- Tulls Bay Colony HOA
- Walnut Island POA
Camden County
Pasquotank County
- Elizabeth City
- - Glen Cove POA - Weeksville
- - Pelican Point HOA
- - Perkins Estates POA
Perquimans County
- Town of Hertford
- - Snug Harbor
Chowan County
- Town of Edenton
- - Arrowhead Beach

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Ocean, Sound, River & Canal Front Lots

Land buying is ideal here! Virginia and North Carolina's ocean fronts are a combination of intensely packed vacation home and rental developments with stretches of protected lands in between. Thus, at this point, oceanfront home lots for development are now at a premium. Most new development is of the mega-vacation home rental variety to ensure a return on investment catering to the strong tourism market here. Currently a limited, but viable, market for those targeting that form of investment that we most certainly can accommodate.

However, the numerous sounds and rivers of Northeast North Carolina also offer a wide variety of affordable waterfront options depending on your taste.

Want to watch sunrises or sunsets from your porch overlooking open water - a sound-front property may be for you. However, the Wright Brothers chose this part of North Carolina for good reason - its consistently windy here and open water doesn't block any of it. If you want to tie up a boat behind the house, the winds may make that a problem.

Is fishing and boating your focus? There are numerous affordable river and canal front properties to build your home on throughout the Albemarle offering adequate boat depths, ideal waterfront docking protection and close access to a wide variety of fish species to angle for.

Keep in mind that to build your home on a waterfront lot has its own set of restrictions and rules to follow - particularly when it comes to building setbacks from the shore, septic systems, bulkheading and erosion controls. Old and deteriorating bulkheads are a common issue with waterfront property.  At the current average cost of $185 a linear foot, replacing one is often in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Land Purchase Considerations

Planning & Zoning Regulations

All land within a state, city, county or town is divided into zones and use of that land is restricted to what is allowed within them. For instance, County and/or Municipal zone designations for environmental, agricultural, residential and commercial applications are laid out and enforces.

There are differences to be aware of concerning the various land purchase processes, regulations and laws between the States of Virginia and North Carolina. There are also additional regional county, city and/or town restrictions to take into consideration, as well.

On top of that, building a home in some POA/HOA-managed communities may have building or lot restrictions of their own. See our HOA/POA Community Websites.

Zoning is ultimately determined by the local governments of wherever the plot of land you're interested in is located. Obtaining a variety of building permits is always a part of the process. You'll want to allow adequate time to get approvals and, more importantly, ensure those approvals are feasible before purchasing the land. Depending on the area your building in, the full permitting process can take weeks or months to obtain.

Utilities

Probably the one utility that has become paramount in today's modern society is Internet access. Especially when it comes to having bandwidth for streaming television services or reliable connectivity if working from home. Optimal cable internet infrastructure is lacking in very rural areas.

Reliable internet connectivity is sketchy in many rural areas where low bandwidth DSL or satellite service are your only options. DSL bandwidth degrades considerably the longer the distance your property is from a carrier's routing hub or "CO". Satellite internet bandwidth degrades during certain weather conditions. Not having reliable internet access has been a deal breaker for buying many quality homes built in very rural areas.

Natural gas connectivity is also an issue to take into consideration as its infrastructure is also lacking in rural areas.

Land Surveys

Performing a professional land survey for any piece of land you're looking to purchase is an important first step that should never be overlooked. When it comes to land, many have been family-owned over generations and survey records from decades ago will probably be inaccurate.

What kind of survey you need depends on what you will use it for. ALTA/ACSM Land - Mortgage Title Surveys establish legal boundaries of the property and verifies improvements, easements, rights-of-way, and encroachments it may find. Topographical surveys are useful to determine water drainage points for erosion, flood zones, farmland usage and/or determining elevations for building.

Residential developers will need a subdivision survey to divide large tracts into smaller lots. They may also need a combination of survey types performed before development. See this informative article concerning Survey Considerations When Buying Land.

Does It "Perc"?

Large parts of our region's geography is comprised of swamplands. The Albemarle's inner Counties and Chesapeake's Great Dismal Swamp lands are prime examples of this. This presents a challenge on knowing how much of a total tract of land being sold can be developed - or "perc".  A "perc" (or "perk") is short for percolation test to determine the rate at which water will drain through the property's soil.

If the property does not pass the perk test, than a standard septic system cannot by installed. There are alternatives, but they can be very expensive. Septic fields can require a fairly substantial piece of land space depending on the size of a structure to be built on it and/or zone and building ordinance restrictions.

Soil Testing

If your looking to farm or farm lease your land, it's a good idea to have a soil test performed as part of your planning. Perhaps the most important measurement of a soil test is determining its pH factors to determine what crop can be farmed by its results. They can be a useful tool if the seller can't provide records or hasn't recently had it tested.

We Understand Land

The point is, these are just some of the basic considerations I think of when working with clients looking for that perfect piece of property to own, develop or invest in. There are a wide variety of options to satisfy finding it while also anticipating and avoiding common pitfalls of land buying and selling.