A written offer to purchase for a building lot should include language that allows you to build the home you want, where you want it, and for a price acceptable to you. You should have your attorney include all contingencies that will provide the protection you need. If you are unable to meet one of these contingencies, the agreement should allow you to withdraw your offer to purchase for a building lot and receive a full deposit refund.
If the seller rejects a proposed contingency, he might accept a less demanding one. For example, the seller might not agree to a contingency that allows you to first obtain a building permit, since this might take too much time. But he might agree to make the offer contingent on the property passing a percolation test or being approved by a wetlands board. If your research indicates that these are the only potential obstacles to obtaining a permit, your attorney might advise you to submit the offer to purchase for a building lot with these contingencies in place.
These contingencies will only help you, however, if you take the appropriate actions they allow you to do. For example, when shopping for a dealer and GC, you will need to make sure their estimates are for the home you want and built to the correct specifications. This means that the dealer and GC must do their homework, as well. For example, if the property has access to town water and sewer at, the GC must determine if the hookups can be made inexpensively or require expensive excavation into the street.
Contingencies to Include in an Offer to Purchase for a Building Lot
- The buyers can secure sufficient financing for the home they want to build
- The buyers receive an appraisal at full purchase price by a licensed appraiser selected by either the buyers or their lender
- The buyers are satisfied with their review of the deed
- The buyers are satisfied with their review of any easements, deed restrictions, covenants, flood plain designations, or wetland restrictions
- The buyers are satisfied with their review of the applicable zoning regulations
- The property has a registered survey, the boundary stakes are in place, and the boundaries are as represented by the seller
- The buyers are satisfied with their review of the perc test and septic design
- The buyers are satisfied with their review of any required flood insurance
- The buyers are satisfied with their review of any water test, whether required for a permit or completed at the buyers’ discretion
- The buyers are satisfied with their review of the radon test and any required remediation
- The buyers can obtain a building permit for the home they want to build
- The buyers can dig some exploratory holes on the property to assess and approve subsoil conditions and are satisfied with their findings
- The buyers obtain an acceptable written cost estimate from a builder of their choice to build the home they want to build
For more information about making an offer to purchase for a building lot, see Finding and Preparing a Building Lot for a Modular Home and Financing a Modular Home in my book The Modular Home.