Buying Land

With some variations, the process of buying land in Larkspur Colorado is similar to buying any other real estate: first decide on your price range and some basic parameters, like the general area and approximate parcel size you want, then arrange financing, survey the market to see what’s available, and make an offer to buy.

But the devil’s in the details. Read on…

Things to consider when buying Larkspur land:

Orientation – Which way does it face? South is considered best because the winter sun is lower in the sky and it warms south-facing lots and the homes thereon. But don’t be dogmatic about southern orientation because, for example, many of our best lots with mountain views face west.

Topography – It is a rare parcel that is both heavily trees and offers sweeping vistas. Neither is better than the other, you just need to decide your preference.

Access – county-maintained roads are typically preferred and all buildable lots in the greater Perry Park area are county maintained. Some areas are served by homeowner association-maintained roads and more private, secluded areas may involve maintaining your own private drive for some distance. You’ll also want to confirm the legality of your access right-of-way.

Water – most lots in the greater Perry Park area receive water from Perry Park Water & Sanitation. You can generally anticipate that larger and more remote lots are eligible for a well permit, but you will always want to confirm you can get a permit before buying. If you buy a lot served by a community/public water system, be sure to check on tap costs and availability.

To learn more about how wells work visit the Water Wells page of this site.

Sewer – most lots requiring a well for water will also require a septic system. In our area, septic systems typically consist of a 2-compartment tank with leaching field. It is always a good idea to confirm availability of a septic permit before buying. Plan to spend between aproximatly $10,000 for your septic system. Again, you’ll want to check on sewer tap cost and availability in areas served by a community sewer district.

To learn more about how Septic Systems work visit the Septic Systems page of this site.

LID Fees – most buildable lots in the Perry Park area carry a LID (Local Improvement District) fee. LID fees are assessed when services (water, sewer, natural gas, telephone, etc. ) are brought to a previously unbuildable area. The cost of bringing these services is divided amongst the benefiting lots. LID Fees which are frequently as high as $30,000 are typically financed through the county over a period of ten years. When purchasing a lot (as well as many newly built homes) it is important to verify the presence and amount of the LID prior to writing an offer.

Speculative Lots – many lots in the Perry Park area are not currently buildable. Douglas county will not issue building permits to lots in the greater Perry Park area until the streets have been paved and services (water, sewer, natural gas, telephone, etc. ) have been brought to the lot line. Depending upon the area and the demand for services some Speculative lots may be buildable in as little as 12 to 24 months while others many not be buildable for 10 years or even longer.
When purchasing a Spec Lot it is important to remember several items;
1) You have little or no control over when the lot will be buildable.
2) Although the lot is not buildable you are still required to pay property taxes.
3) A LID fee will likely be assessed when services are brought to the lot.

Covenants – nearly all ‘lot & block’ land carries some form of restrictive covenants; most ‘metes & bounds’ land does not. It pays to check either way.

Horses – in order to legally have horses on your property, you must meet three criteria:
1) Zoning must allow horses/large animals,
2) Subdivision covenants must not prohibit them, and
3) The well permit must allow for them.

Title Issues – We urge our clients to never buy land without a current survey and title insurance. Title insurance will disclose any covenants, easements, platting setbacks or building envelopes of record, and will, of course, detail liens that need to be paid off and any other requirements to obtain sufficient title.

Taxes – Vacant land is assessed at a higher rate than ‘improved land’ (land with a home on it), so it may seem taxes are inordinately high for land. Once you build your home and the property is reassessed, the rate will decrease but the total bill may increase because the value of the improvements is now included.

Cost – Vacant land in Larkspur runs the gamut: from unbuildable speculative lots, to buildable 1-acre sites in Perry Park or Sage Port served by city water and sewer, to subdivisions such as Sterling Pointe or Perry Park East with 2 to 5 acres serviced by city water and septic, to large tracts and estate parcels on 15 to over 100 acres. The cost per acre generally goes down as you buy more land and/or move further away from Denver. Plan on spending a minimum of $100,000 for any reasonably appealing buildable lot.

Financing – Commercial banks as well as mortgage lenders typically provide financing for land acquisition. They generally require a 25% to 30% down payment and offer 3 to 5-year loans with interest-only or amortization with balloon payment options. Many land purchasers prefer to take a home equity loan on their primary residence when they purchase land. Taking a home equity loan as opposed to a lot loan can carry some significant tax benefits. Speak with your accountant for details.

All of the above considerations need to be addressed prior to closing on your purchase. If you’re unable to get all your answers before writing the contracting to buy, you should create contract contingencies to protect yourself so you can do your due diligence.

If you are considering purchasing vacant land in Larkspur it is crucial that you use a Buyer’s Agent who specializes in selling Larkspur Real Estate. Using the wrong agent could result in you paying $20,000 or more in undisclosed fees when you build. If you are considering purchasing any Larkspur properties, please Contact Ben Wolfe first.

Would you like to know what our Larkspur, Castle Rock, Parker and Monument clients are saying about us? Please visit the Client Testimonials area of our website.