This past weekend I accompanied a serious buyer to Keats Island. We looked at a number of lots and discussed their development issues. Sometimes visualizing what needs to be done to a lot to make it suitable for a building site can be a most useful exercise prior to making the financial commitment.
The econo lots will likely have no view, have a challenging topography, be heavily bushed or timbered, shaded, oddly shaped, difficult access and with limitations on a suitable building site. The premium lots will have southern exposure, easy access, accommodating terrain and options for developing outbuildings and gardens. The price factor between an econo and premium lot, in the same area, can be a factor of two or greater.
Here are a few key issues that every lot buyer should focus on, rather than just price, view and location.
- Is the lot flat?
- How difficult will it be to punch a road into the site and find a building location?
- Is the entire lot accessible?
- What is the neighbourhood like? Will you fit in?
- Is there bedrock or soil? Will blasting be required?
- Will the lot work with a conventional septic system or will it be a costly unique system?
- Is the landscaping mature and require a small fortune to clear?
- Any evidence of soil erosion or landslide?
- Is the lot in a riparian zone?
- How difficult will it be to get a contractor to do work at the lot location?
- What direction does the lot face? Can you live with the resulting limitations to sun or shade?
- Is a garden area important to you? Is there an adequate location for one?
- What about pests? Big ones. Deer or bear in the area may limit its use.
- Small pests can be annoying. Are you prepared to deal with mice, rats, squirrels, racoons?
- What is the lot’s best use? Is it for a tiny home, an RV, a sleeping cabin or a cottage? What does the zoning allow?
- What’s available for potable water? What about the power line connection? Is there internet reception?
In addition, consider your personal circumstances. Will it work for you and your significant other? Will the grand-kids be safe or can they fall off a cliff? Will friends be able to reach you for a visit without too much difficulty? Are you prepared to always haul food and waste on and off the island? Do you like ferries? Better said, can you work out your lifestyle and travel plans to always include the ferry schedule?
A Keats Island property can be a very special place to hang out or even make into a full time residence. Just be sure to walk into the purchase with as much ‘heads up’ knowledge as possible.