Before you buy a plot of land for any type of development, you'll want to hire a land surveyor to check out the area thoroughly. A land surveyor can do much more than just mark boundaries around a plot. A surveyor can answer many questions about the condition of the land itself, and their information can be invaluable when you're making a purchasing decision. Note a few important questions to ask a land surveyor about any plot of land, so you can determine if that area is the right choice for your development plans.
Ask about the condition of adjacent streets and sidewalks
Once you buy a plot of land, you might be responsible for repairing the sidewalks, driveways and even paved lots or alleys that are adjacent to the land itself. This can be very costly, especially if you need to ensure that walkways are compliant with local codes handicap accessibility and if adjacent lots and alleys have been neglected for years.
The condition of these adjacent streets and sidewalks can also tell you something about the land itself. For example, if paved areas are severely cracked with heaving concrete, this might mean that the land has drainage issues that could affect your own development. There may also be signs of persistent dumping in those areas, which you might be responsible for cleaning or which might affect the overall appearance of your own development.
Ask if the site is buildable
A site on a hillside or that is not perfectly level isn't necessarily a poor choice for a development, but these types of sites may need more grading and other prep work before you can build on them. The condition of the soil, especially for a hillside property, might also indicate a greater risk of a small landslide or flooding that could affect your development. Again, this doesn't mean the site isn't buildable, but it might indicate that more maintenance will be needed for the lot itself over the years.
Ask about the utilities servicing the site
Never assume that electric, gas and sewer lines are reaching any site you're considering for development or that these lines are upgraded and in good repair. A land surveyor can note any underground lines and should be able to assess their overall condition. This can tell you how much prep work is needed to upgrade these lines so they can properly service your development or adjust your plans accordingly.