Finding the right home is not for everybody. Some want to build the dream house using their specifications. With real estate prices lower than they were five years ago, purchasing land could make sense for those who have the wherewithal. What are the right questions to ask before signing a purchase contract? Michael Luckado’s “Buying the Land for Your Future Dream Home” featured in HomeGain, outlines the major categories. The first step is to check out the zoning laws for the land and its surrounding areas. Is the area zoned for residential or commercial? What are the setback requirements (distance between the proposed home and lot lines) and height restrictions? When zoning checks out, the buyer should contact the Homeowner’s Association, if one exists, and inquire about additional restrictions that may affect the building project. If the green light is still on, look into the availability of utilities. Those that are not easily connected will incur additional costs. For example, if water and sewer are not available, a private well and septic tank will need to be installed. There may also be fees to build (contact the local building and public works department for a list) and maintenance expenses even before breaking ground, such as real estate taxes, insurance, sewer and water availability fees, HOA dues. After completing due diligence on the above items, you may want to consult with an attorney to review the contract. As a rule, a title search on the land is recommended. Before you build your dream house, do the homework. It can make the difference between a poor and prudent decision.