What you need to know when buying a vacant plot

Investing in property has always been a popular and generally rewarding choice for all types of people. And buying vacant plots to develop, resell, rent, cultivate or hold, definitely has its benefits for property investors and developers.  

If you are a first-time vacant plot property buyer, then there are a few things you need to know before you sign any deeds or pay any money. 

Motivation for buying 

You need to have a clear motivation for why you are wanting to buy a vacant plot of land. What are your plot intentions? Will you be building a residential building? Are you looking to start and build a commercial business? Are there farming prospects in this plot of land’s future? Do you want to build a parking lot space in the area? 

There are endless building opportunities for landowners and a vacant plot is the perfect canvas. Knowing what you want to do with the plot will answer many more questions and considerations going forward. 

Consider the location 

Regardless of what you plan to do with the plot, you need to consider the location and whether it will work for your intentions or not. Location influences how well or how terribly you will be able to adapt your building to its surroundings in order for it to successfully fulfil its purpose. You also need to keep in mind the value of the area you choose to buy in and calculate how much you can build it up and resell it for in the long term. 

If it’s for a family home, you need to keep in mind how far away it is from schools and work, how busy the streets are, safety in the area and the neighbourhood residents. For a commercial plot, you may not be as concerned about busy streets, especially for retail purposes, but for industrial practices, you might not want to be surrounded by residential neighbours. Unless you don’t mind being complained about. You’ll also need to keep in mind how isolated you are from potential customers and suppliers and how transport costs will play a role in the long run. 

Zoning requirements 

Now, it’s one thing to know what you want to do with a piece of land, find that land and still be able to run with your original idea, but it’s quite another dealing with zoning requirements. Every plot of land will have a set of zoning requirements that will limit you with regards to what is possible for that plot. That includes whether it’s viable for residential or commercial purposes. 

It’s not always as simple as starting a business from home with no neighbourhood consequences. Even something like home farming can be controversial in the eyes of zoning regulations for your plot of land. So, before you consider what the cost of mining on an average home plot is, you’ll need to find out whether you can even do it on your plot in first place. And that may include something like borehole drilling and mining which could provide valuable resources for farming and even home living efforts. 

Zoning requirements need to be reviewed seriously by plot owners before they set themselves up for failure. Zoning even includes restrictions on building height, total lot coverage and add-on buildings, such as garages. Before you buy a piece of land, make sure you know what will and won’t be possible. 

Utility access

Once your motivations are aligned with the zoning requirements of the vacant plot you’ve chosen, you also need to consider the ease of access to water and electricity utilities. You’ll definitely need them if you plan on constructing and adding value to the plot. 

You’ll be saving time and money by investing in a plot that is already kitted out with communication, electricity, water and sewerage lines installed. Keep an eye out when you initially look for plots or start budgeting if you’ve found a plot that’s perfect in every way… except for its utility access. 


For some nitty-gritty law of the land details, you’re going to want to want your land to be surveyed, even if it has been in some time the past. Knowing exactly what the boundaries are on your plot of land will play a role in things like easements and title insurance. Neighbours can be tricky and draw the boundary lines over your property to their benefit and use the excuse of “I was here first” or “the previous lot owner didn’t mind”. At the end of the day, it’s your money and investment. You should know where that investment starts and ends, to the blade of grass if necessary, and have it put on the record. And while we’re on the topic of lawful duties, be prepared to have permits written up for anything you plan to do on this vacant plot. 

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 25 Jun 2018
      The mid-year break is upon us and, whether you’ve planned for it or not, your children are going to be at home for the next three weeks. Why not take a few days leave and enjoy a mini staycation with them? Those without children can call it a well-deserved mid-year pitstop.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      The rental market in many Johannesburg suburbs has shown encouraging signs of revival this year but it remains a competitive market and landlords who best cater to their market’s needs will reap the healthiest returns.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      Home design is constantly evolving to reflect the changing needs of society. We look at some of the ways in which our use of space is changing.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      While estate agents can help the seller with correctly pricing the property and marketing a property to the right pool of potential buyers, at the end of the day it’s the impression that the property will make on buyers that counts the most.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      Anyone who’s ever been involved in a building project that’s gone wrong will appreciate the importance of adequate insurance cover in the construction industry.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A recent news story about a blind tenant caught in a legal battle with his body corporate over letters and notices he was unable to read and consequently comply with has raised the question: what are the legal obligations for landlords with disabled tenants?
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A trend that’s taken the world by storm in recent years is that of hygge (pronounced: hue-guh), a Danish concept that is about creating intimacy, connecting with loved ones and taking pleasure in small, ordinary things.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      Buying or selling real estate isn’t as easy as it is portrayed sometimes, especially if there is a death of a party during the transaction which can make it awkward, tricky and inconvenient.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us