Guidance on Buying Lots

Step One: Hire a full time REALTOR, and choose your REALTOR carefully.

Determine a comfortable price range that is suitable for you and share that with me.
I will not push lots that exceed your price range. As your REALTOR and confidential advisor, I need you to tell me in advance of finding a lot if you can pay cash or need a mortgage. I will talk with you about the level of debt you can comfortably handle. (If you need help choosing a lender I will recommend lenders we believe are easy to work with).

Location and price are the primary factors buyers need to consider. Location generally determines or heavily influences value and price. On St. George Island the choices can be as simple as deciding whether you want to watch the sun rise or set. On the mainland choices include bay front/view, river front/view, historic areas (south side vs. north side), wooded areas, proximity to a boat ramp, within or outside of city limits, etc.

I will assist you in determining what type of structure is permissible. If you are looking at a lot on the Gulf you want to know the location of public beach access easements. Public right of ways are designated between some lots. I can show on a map where these are located. Frequently there are county or neighborhood covenants that govern building height, square footage, and acceptable building materials and practices. Apalachicola has a Planning and Zoning board that oversees home remodeling and construction. (You will find links to Apalachicola Planning and Zoning and Franklin County Planning and Building at the *Finding Your Property* tab above). I will provide the names of several licensed builders you can talk with regarding new home construction.

When considering bay, canal, or river front property there are guidelines and restrictions related to dock and lift construction. You must also determine what type of sewage treatment is required or permitted. I will work with you and county officials to assess and determine building and septic permits requirements and limitations.

Having a vacant lot surveyed is the only way to determine elevation and flood hazard potential, boundaries, and whether the lot has topographic issues. A topographic survey will identify right-of-ways, utility easements, and assist in locating a suitable home site. A survey will also determine whether a lot is "high and dry", "low and wet", or somewhere in between. Some lenders require approval of a septic tank permit and/or a survey prior to loan approval.

Surveys start around $250 and are generally a buyer expense. Buyers should consider whether water will be provided by a private well or from a public or community provider.

michaelbillings@sgirealty.com
850.228.8100

139 East Gulf Beach Drive
St. George Island, FL 32328