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Five Tips for Developing Raw Land

Developing raw land is both a blessing and a curse. For one, you know that you’re the first to get your hands on it, which means you don’t have to fix anyone’s mistakes or worry about any unmarked infrastructure. On the other hand, though, you are the first one to work on it, which means you have no idea what challenges lie beneath the ground. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time, especially if this is your first piece of raw land. Luckily, BC has some tips to help make the project a little smoother.

Tip #1: Understand the Drawbacks

You may think that investing in raw land is lucrative — and it can be — however, there are some drawbacks you need to be aware of. It’s a long-term investment that can’t be easily sold or exchanged, and it may take longer than you anticipated to start profiting from it.

Certain land is always more sought after, while other areas may actually lose resale value depending on location, environmental aspects, the state of the economy, and more.

Consider the Factors that Affect Value

Certain things will positively or negatively affect your land’s value. For example, having a stream on your property can increase its value by 100 percent, but having an oddly shaped piece of land can decrease the value significantly.

Because of all these values, paired with the lack of comparable pieces of land around it, you may find it difficult to know exactly what your land is worth. Consider all of these following:


Location is a top factor. Corner lots, lots with easy access to sewers, drinking water, natural gas, and other utilities, and proximity to amenities are all factors that can either boost or drop your land’s value.

Also consider the landscaping on the land and around it. Trees add value to your land, as do streams. A good view, however, can be a double-edged sword. It can add value, but also be costly when you develop the land.


Good drainage is important! You may have a piece of land with an exceptional view, but if the drainage is bad, then you’ll have to factor in development costs, which will dramatically lower the value of your land. In fact, you could pay up to 30 percent more for roads, utilities, water, sewer and building foundations when you develop land high up on a hill.


The better the environment is, the more your land will cost. Climate, air quality, water supply and the presence of hazardous materials can help determine the worth of your raw land.

Tip #2: Be Prepared for Potential Problems

We alluded to it above, but raw land can hide a lot of problems under the surface. It may look beautiful, but it could be a development nightmare. There are a lot of things to consider, such as:

  • Potentially buried toxic waste from nearby storage tanks

  • Old wells

  • Unmarked cemeteries

  • Huge boulders or hard clay

  • Drainage issues

  • Flooding issues

  • Unstable land

You'll also want to check with the area government to ensure there aren't any unknown moratoriums on the books that prevent development of your land at all.

What's Nearby?

Knowing what is nearby will help you identify certain problems that may occur. For example, if your land is close to a landfill, then you can expect certain days to be smellier than others and you may want to check for contaminated water as well.

Think of sounds and light pollution too: airports, industrial parks, water parks, and other buildings may hinder your development plans too. You don’t want to develop a home in an area that is never quiet or filled with tourists or constantly bathed in lights.

Also consider what isn’t nearby. If you’re too far from a power plant, or out of range of the area’s internet provider, then you may have to pay a premium to get your land hooked up to the right utilities.

Tip #3: Calculate the Total Cost

The cost of your raw land purchase is not going to be your final expenditure. You’ll need to pay for the land to be developed before you sell it to someone to build on, or build on it yourself!

That will require property surveys, environmental impact studies, fees, permits, engineering services and soil tests; and development costs for tree removal, grading and clearing, the building of access roads, payments to bring utilities to your land and expenses involved with drilling a well or installing a septic tank.

Tip #4: Thoroughly Investigate the Land

Before you do ANYTHING to your land, investigate it. Do a few walkthroughs so you know exactly what you have, where the boundaries are, if there are any suspicious wet spots, or any features you didn’t know about. Locate ponds, streams, rivers, trees, and other natural features as well. Take photos too!

If you haven’t done so already, research the area too. Learn about the population trends, industry trends, and what is the expected future of your land’s immediate location.

A thorough investigation of the raw land will be well worth it. The more you research, the fewer surprises you'll have later.

Tip #5: If You Don't Know, Hire Someone Who Does

Developing raw land isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re in over your head, partner with someone who can help, like BC. Our team is diverse and multi-skilled, so you’ll have a real estate agent, land developers, and contractors on your side — all of whom have access to attorneys if you want to do more research into your property!

BC will make sure the job is done right while keeping you in the loop. You’ll never have to ask how your project is coming along — with BC, you’ll know exactly what stage they’re at, what permit is being worked on, and what study is being conducted. Give them a call today at 602-492-9242 or check out BC online!

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