Land Development Checklist

When you are looking at property to build a home on or purchase, particularly in a rural setting, you will want to do your due diligence to make sure the property will accommodate your goals. Our Land Development Checklist is a great place to start!

Following are items for consideration that we recommend looking at before purchasing. These items can have a significant impact on your land development costs and timelines, and we believe it is better to be eyes-wide-open in development than find out down the road that you are not able to accomplish your goals with the new property.

We recommend considering your long-term plans for the property. It is often best to speak with a land planner, engineer, surveyor, or your builder to discuss your plans and goals for the property ahead of time to help you understand the potential barriers or costs associated with development. Most things are possible, but they may not always be feasible!

Download the PDF of our checklist HERE.


 Are there covenants in place?
+++o If yes, is there a minimum square footage designated for home construction?
+++o Are there designated setback requirements?
+++o Are there any height requirements/restrictions?


 What is the zoning for the property?
 Do your development goals fit within the current zoning?


 Is all or some of the property in a designated floodplain?


 Are there utilities run to the property?
+++o If no, how close are available utilities?
You can reach out to a One Call locator can find out if utility access is nearby. You can also take a look at junction boxes nearby for names/contacts for utility companies or speak with neighboring property owners to find out what may or may not be available.


 Is septic in place?
+++o If no, is it feasible to place septic on the property?
 Is a well in place?
+++o If not, is getting water possible/available?
 What is the well depth?


 Is there risk of fire hazard?
+++o If yes, do you need to create a clear zone for safety prior to building or is that done already?
 Is the property within a water quality protection area?
 Are there any historical or archeological protections on the property?
 Is there a dam inundation area nearby?


 What is the access like?
 Is the access direct or by right-of-way?
 Who responsible for maintaining the access road?
 What will the length of the driveway need to be?
 Will there be seasonal barriers to access?


 Are there groundwater signs present?
 Are there any springs present on the property or areas where you can visibly see runoff?


 Is the lot buildable?
 Are the boundaries accurately marked or does a survey need to be completed?
 Are there potential encroachments from neighboring properties such as fences or buildings that may need to be addressed?
 Are there geological hazards like sloughing and/or sliding?
 Is the property situated below a steep slope that may be prevalent to a slide off?
 Is there a significant amount of rock and/or soil that would need to be removed to clear a building spot?

Our CEO Jason Rice was the guest on the Montana Real Estate Today radio show discussing developing property off the grid. Listen to the audio of the show that aired by clicking HERE.