Are you looking to purchase vacant land in Cape Coral or other parts of SWFL? Are you a builder, investor, or looking to build your dream home? If so, there are some important things you need to know when buying lots in Cape Coral and SWFL. We want you to know a few things you should be looking at when you decide to purchase a lot here.
Zoning and Future Land Use
It is important to ensure that the zoning and future land use will be compatible with what a buyer will want to build on the lot. Properties can have a wide variety of zoning and future land use, such as residential, multi-family, commercial, and mixed-use. If a property is zoned commercial with a future land use of commercial professional, a single-family home cannot be built on the lot. That is very important information for a buyer to be aware of.
Another important consideration is to check whether the zoning and land use match. For example, there may be a lot that is zoned residential, but the future land use is commercial professional. In this case, the lot is not buildable because the zoning and future land use are not compatible. In order to build on the lot, it would require either a zoning or a future land use amendment. The process has to go through the city and can take 6 months, including public hearings, and costs associated with the process.
Some lots will have property restrictions imposed on the lot by the city. There are many things that could cause a property restriction but a few examples are an illegal lot split, wildlife on the property, and storm pipes warnings. A property restriction does not necessarily mean that the lot is not buildable, and it all depends on exactly what the restrictions are. However, it could mean that if you wanted to build on the lot, there may be some extra steps and costs associated with the process.
In Cape Coral, our most common property restrictions are due to wildlife. Burrowing owls and gopher tortoises are protected species and if there is one of the animals on the lot, it will show up as a property restriction. These lots are buildable but require special permits and usually the help of an environmental specialist to remove the protected animal. More information on owls and gopher tortoises can be found here.
Flood Zone Designation
If a property is in a flood zone, flood insurance will be required by the homeowner if they are purchasing the property through a lender. For some buyers and builders, flood insurance costs are not a deterrent as to whether they build on the lot or not. But some others, prefer to not buy anything in a flood zone. If you are looking to build a property in a flood zone, we suggest contacting an experienced insurance agent to guide you through the process.
Another thing to take into consideration is whether the lot has any trees that will need to be cleared before building. This is added cost to the builder during construction. We suggest buying lots with minimal to no clearing. If heavy clearing is needed, then those costs should be considered with the purchase price. Fortunately in Cape Coral, the majority of the lots are either cleared or partially cleared. Other parts of SWFL that are less developed such as Lehigh Acres or the Charlotte County area tend to have lots with more trees on them.
Dry lots or Waterfront Lots
When purchasing a lot, one important decision is whether to buy a dry lot or a waterfront lot. Most home builders prefer to buy dry lots because there are no added costs of installing a seawall. On the other hand, larger and more luxury homes built on freshwater or Gulf access lots typically have a much higher retail value. And of course, if you are looking to build your dream home and live the Florida lifestyle, we highly recommend building on the water! Click here to read more about waterfront properties and seawalls in Cape Coral.