.         Not all land is created equal. Remember this as you are shopping. That view of the Eastern Sierras may be stunning, but if you’re standing in a runoff ditch on loose sand with no quality bedrock to establish a foundation . . . building a house is going to be a major issue. Take special notice of where water runs, signs of runoff and flooding, soil types, and grade. While it is possible to build a structure on a steeper grade, certain expenses and considerations about soil and stability make it more difficult than it is often worth.
                                When you buy an existing home, chances are very good it’s already zoned residential–hence there being a home on the property. With unimproved land, the possibility exists that your property is currently zoned differently and may prevent you from immediately building a home. The property may be unzoned as well, depending on how rural you are going. Changing the zoning on a property can be a time consuming and laborious process. Be sure to double check before signing on the dotted line. Checking the zoning also gives you an idea of whether or not the property was previously used for something that may depreciate its overall value, such as industrial farming which may leave residual chemicals and damage on the site.