Legal Checklist for Buying Vacant Land in Rochester NY

If you are looking for a rural vacant lot on which to build, take the following precautions:

    • Check with the planning board to determine what type of development is planned in the area.


    • Determine if there are oil or gas leases on the property.


    • Determine what utilities (gas, electric, cable, water and sewer) will service the property.


    • Ask the owner if a percolation test has been done for a sewage disposal system. If not, have a percolation test contingency clause inserted in the contract of sale. The cost of fill may be prohibitive.


    • Check with the town building or zoning department to find out: What building and other permits are required and the zoning requirements that will have to be satisfied–minimum square footage, minimum lot size and minimum frontage.


    • Check to see if the property is in a flood zone.


    • Determine whether state, county or local subdivision regulations have been met.


    • Make sure that the contract of sale indicates the lot’s dimensions and size. The contract should also require the seller to have the lot staked by a surveyor.


    • Check for signs of hazardous waste dumping by having an environmental study done.


    • If public water is not available, obtain an estimate from a well digger.


    • If the property is in an agricultural district, farming activities may cause noise, dust and odors.


  • Insert a contract provision stating that the contract is subject to your attorney’s approval as to form and content.

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