There are several things to consider when thinking of buying a vacant lot in Bella Vista, Arkansas. Whether you are the buyer or seller, you will find this information useful so that you will know what is required of the other party in the transaction.
Of course, it is always wise to keep up to date with the ever changing Property Owner’s Association’s building rules so that you are well informed when entering into a Bella Vista lot sale. New rules concerning the sewer hook-up and other major considerations are now in place.
If the lot that you want to buy is not on sewer or will not be on sewer when you plan on building, then you will need to know that you will have to have a self-contained septic system installed when you build. I can point you to experts in this field. Also, you will need to know whether or not the lot is on sewer because that makes all the difference. If you are going to make the necessary stipulations in the contract, then this pieces of information is vital, because if the lot is not one sewer, then a soil test will need to be conducted by a licensed soil scientist or soil morph-ologist. Again, I can help you with this if you desire.
The soil test will reveal several things to us. First, it will let us know how much space the potential septic system will occupy. Secondly, it may determine if the chosen lot is even suitable for the intended house plan or not.
Right now with respect to Bella Vista lots, when you are considering dimensions, to calculate for a 7.5 foot standard implied setback from the sides and back of the lot, unless the plat is already marked. So if your lot is 80′ wide, you or the engineer will need to subtract 15′ total to figure your build-able width area (65′). This implied setback jumps to 10′ for septic fields. Read the subdivision covenants carefully. I recommend letting the engineer explain and do all this work for you, but for the purpose of being able to look at lots and narrow down your choices, it is nice to know so that we can eyeball the lot and estimate whether or not it seems feasible.
Also, please make sure that you have your lot soil-tested prior to closing on it. Make sure that this is a contingency in the offer to purchase so that if the soil test is not acceptable, you can back out and retain your earnest money. Have your agent put that the soil test must be acceptable to YOU, as opposed to one that is merely acceptable soil. Why? Because you may have acceptable soil according to the test results, but in order for you to build you would have to cram the house right up to 15 feet from the street, leaving little or no driveway. This would not be good. Soil tests results can be acceptable as far as the POA and state are concerned, but not acceptable to the way you want your house situated onto the lot.
Negotiating who will pay for the soil test is another thing to consider. I’ve heard both sides of this argument many times. The buyer would like the seller to pay for the soil test because they feel that if the lot does not pass, then they should not have to pay for an unworkable lot. From the sellers perspective, it’s the buyer’s house plan that may have caused the trouble. Also, the seller may not afford to be able to pay for every person that wants to make a contingency offer on their lot, especially if the list price is already low. I usually suggest that the cost of the test be split or that the buyer pay for it but it is up to buyer who makes the offer to decide.
Septic system sizes are relative to the number of bedrooms that you intend on having. Three bedrooms are the standard but that is up to you and your needs. A soil morphology test can determine how many linear feet per bedroom will be required. If you have a soil test done for a standard sized 3-bedroom house but later change your intended house plan to a 4 bedroom, then your soil scientist can usually convert the original test for you into a 4 bedroom.
Verify that the lot that you intend to buy is where you thought. Bella Vista lot numbers are NOT marked in any way. Therefore, it is up to you (through your contract and agent) to verify the location either through your own judgment or by mandating a survey as a contingency in the offer to purchase. By asking for a survey (as a contingency) in order to determine where the pins are located is a start. If the lot is not where you thought it was, then you should be able to back out. Tell your surveyor that you want semi-permanent markers, such as t-posts or other metal. Many surveyors will simply tie a loose ribbon onto a twig that is hanging near the marker and expect that to last. Take it from me, those little ribbons do not last, nor do the twigs. One main reason is that Bella Vista, Arkansas lots are still in their natural state – full of trees and full of wildlife. You may decide not to build for several years but to buy Bella Vista land now (since the NW Arkansas market is so good for buying), and so getting more permanent markers in place is a good idea. However, if you are planning on building right away, then the ribbon markers may work for you.