It's not rare that a new landowner turns around a year or three after purchasing only to realize that the land they chose is going to make realizing their goals far more challenging and expensive than they ever thought it would. Only before one chooses a property are all of the design possibilities available and the ability to pick a site that mathes one's dreams and goals truly possible. The optimal time to start land planning property developments is, of course, before purchase.
We provide guidance in developing site selection goals and criteria and apply this information to properties in the region of interest. We perform an entire range of site selection services from regional property identification using GIS, to site inspections of prospective parcels. We have an intimate working understanding of the New England climate as well as the cultural and physical landscape of Vermont. We start with a phone call, then a client meeting (usually on site), followed by a site visit(s). We assemble multi-property comparison reports when necessary.
This process represents the most valuable pre-purchase land investment a prospective land owner can make and it's not unusual that our pre-purchase land inspection saves the buyer thousands of dollars by alerting them to site issues in the same way a building inspection alerts one to structural issues. There are as many potential site problems as building problems, yet ironically, buyers do not carefully inspect the site. Our site inspections have identified problems ranging from unsound pond berm construction to lack of proper drainage in new roads (thus causing the new buyer to be forced to install them after the road washes out), to poor retaining wall construction, landscape plantings, outbuilding problems and many other issues that usually go unnoticed, until something goes wrong. Typical building inspections do not uncover the soundness, or lack thereof, of land and multiple building sites.
We help answer the following questions facing prospective land owners:
- How affordable is this access? Is this road going to be expensive to maintain? Is it well constructed and properly drained?
- Is this a fair selling price?
- Is there a feasible house, barn, garden, pasture or orchard site here?
- Are these good soils? Is this healthy forest? How easy and quickly could I develop food and water security on a site like this?
- Is this a good place for strategic relocation?
- Is this pond going to have problems in the future?
- Does this land have a good solar-oriented house site?
- Is this a cold pocket or a warm microclimate?
- Is this landscape suited to food production, timbering, animals?
- Might permitting become an issue with developing this site?
- Is this land too big or too small for what I want to do and how well suited is it to all of my goals?
- What's it going to cost to develop access to this property? To bring power in or produce our own? To establish potable water, drill a well or tap into that spring?
- Is this a good site for general preparedness in a SHTF situation?
- Are there potential viewshed or soundscape issues we should know about? What's this view going to look like at night - dark or light polluted? Is there a snowmobile trail nearby that we'll have to listen to all winter long?
...And a hundred other questions a land owner needs to address before knowing whether to purchase or to keep on looking. As with most other disiplines, you have to know where to look to see the pontential challenges and opportunities.