Here’s some advice on what to consider during your initial inspection of a section, and how the location can affect building costs. What to look for in your initial inspection of a section:
How close are amenities, such as schools, shops, hospitals and public transport?
Site aspect. Is it sunny? Is it windy? Does it have a view? What about privacy? You might need to visit at different times of the day, and in different weather conditions.
Does there seem to be good drainage? Are there swampy areas? Is the section prone to flooding? Consider also the different times of year – how much sun will it get in winter when the sun is low? Decide what is important to you.
Is access difficult? Consider it as a building site. This could have a big impact on building costs as well as convenience when you move in. Is there room for garaging or off-road parking? Find out what services, such as water, sewerage, power, phone, gas are connected to the site. Your local council can tell you what services are available from the road, but you’ll have to check the subdivision plan for services on to the section. You may have to pay to bring services on site. Find out if you will be on public sewerage or a septic tank. Check with the neighbours whether there is good television and mobile phone reception.
What are the neighbours like? Are their properties well-kept? Are there overhanging trees that could cause a nuisance? Could there be a noise problem from them or their pets?
The location will affect the price you pay but if a section seems too cheap there’s probably a good reason. Ask a valuer or real estate agent for a comparison with other sales in the area and, if it still seems cheap, do some further investigation.
Drive around the neighbourhood at different times of the night and day, and in the weekend. Watch for traffic and noise from community activities like sports. Get a feel for the area. If you are looking in a rural area consider smells, and noise from animals or harvesting that goes on around the clock.
Is there any vacant land nearby? Find out whether the council has any plans for it. Research the zoning classification and what can and can’t be built under the district plan. Are there any public utility easements or special covenants on the land?