Choosing the Right Plot of Land for Your New York or New Jersey Development

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Thinking about building a residential or commercial property in New York or New Jersey? If so, we have some great news!

As a full-service team specializing in high-end properties, we’re well-versed in managing multiple aspects of your build at once. From assisting you with land purchasing to the final delivery of your project, we’re a team that can approach your build from all angles.

However, even though our expertise enables us to guide you through the land purchasing process and ensure your plot of land is fit for purpose, we can’t decide where you want to build your property.

This is why before we can break ground on your construction site, there are some important factors for you to consider as project owner. 

The land market in NY & NJ

With plots in areas like New York and New Jersey in such high demand, buyers had no choice but to start settling outside city center locations to secure the level of square footage and quality of land they were seeking. 

With great transport links and well-established local amenities, the New York suburbs that have subsequently been established are now becoming sought-after areas in their own right. 

However, with New York and New Jersey expanding further into areas that were once considered “rural areas”, many are wondering how much further New Jersey and the five boroughs can grow.

This is why in our expert opinion, it’s vital to find the perfect plot for your development sooner rather than later. To help, we’re here with our tips on how to choose the best plot of land for your development.

Let’s dive in!

Assess your ‘non-negotiables’ 

Vacant land in New York and New Jersey that ticks all of your boxes is likely to be a rare find. This is why when scouting out potential plots, many of our clients realize they may need to compromise on some of their requirements to keep their build on track.

For example, while most people buying or building property in the Northeast will want access to local amenities and good services such as public transport, sometimes a more remote location is necessary for the type of home you want to build. 

Especially for anyone wanting a large lot with space for a garden, these types of land purchases can be tricky to secure. This is why before you buy land at an extortionate rate in a certain residential community, consider what might be on offer in a more rural area.

While you should still be able to access road networks and have utilities such as electricity and a stable internet connection as standard, more remote locations can offer significant value for the right homeowner.

Before beginning your land search, ask yourself:

Are you willing to compromise on your dream home?

For many home builders, the reality is that buying land in a high-demand area can sometimes mean having to compromise on your “dream home” vision.

From giving up plans for a vegetable patch to having to forgo a guest bedroom, finding the right location for you involves figuring out what you’re willing to surrender and what your non-negotiables are.

This is why if you’re eager to get started on construction, it’s important to consider which is more important: the perfect plot, or your ideal home? While in an ideal world, you won’t need to compromise on either, it’s worth approaching the land market in NY and NJ with realistic expectations.

Have you done your research before ruling out a location?

If you do end up looking in unfamiliar areas to keep your house dream alive, try not to rule out any plot of land that doesn’t yet offer everything you’re looking for. In many cases, the underdeveloped areas you’re looking at (at a lower cost!) might already have plans for the future.

To find out if there are any plans to develop the local area you’re viewing land in, be sure to speak with real estate agents or even local authorities. People already living in the area will likely know about building notices for schools, shops, or new businesses that might pop up — satisfying the needs of your dream house/dream location combination after all!

Assess the land quality and risk factors 

Finding the right plot to build your property on is about more than just a good location. Before you even consider purchasing land, assessing the land quality and identifying any possible risk factors for the plot is crucial.

One of the biggest mistakes our clients make is not checking the quality of the land and soil before they secure financing and go ahead with the purchase. While a good construction firm will still be able to adapt to bad land conditions, all the costs associated with remedying poor structure and quality will need to be factored in.

For example, if your plot of land is built on a slope, your development team will need to factor this into their costs and adapt your timeline and budget accordingly.

Other risk factors that require careful consideration when buying raw land in NY or NJ:

  • Zoning issues
  • The placement of the sun (especially important for those wanting a garden!)
  • The impact of weather conditions on the plot, e.g. the risk of flooding
  • What lies beneath the soil — some plot owners even find asbestos or levels of radon in rock and soil
  • Will any demolition or land resurfacing be required? e.g. the removal of large boulders or trees
  • Are there any environmental concerns such as natural resources being disturbed or impacted
  • Will there be additional inspections or due diligence required for installations such as a septic tank or connection to the local sewage system

Determine if the plot is suitable for your needs

As architects and construction experts, the sooner we’re involved in your building project the better. With full land purchasing assistance provided by our team, we can help ensure the land you select is the right one for your property size and needs.

Even though many of our clients approach us after they’ve already bought land, if we’re involved earlier than this, we can help you optimize every square foot of your home design more easily. If we even have a general idea of the kind of property you want and the function it needs to serve, we can focus on ensuring the land you purchase can accommodate your design vision.

Some benefits of allowing your construction and development team assist you with land purchasing:

  • Immediate insight into how viable your plot is when compared to your design wishes (or even how much land you might need!)
  • Increased optimization of how you use your land
  • The option of discussing factors such as how the light will move through your home based on your plot location
  • The opportunity to get your build on track as soon as possible with a team that’s already been involved from the start
  • If your team are local, they will also be aware of building codes in the area and even tax benefits for certain types of structures, e.g. the agricultural buildings tax exemption 

Ask yourself: Can you see yourself living there?

As much as we’d love to tell you that everyone can make a location work for them if they try hard enough, the unfortunate truth is that even the best plot of land will only fulfill your needs if you’re happy living there.

As mentioned earlier, with land in sought-after areas of NY and NJ a scarce resource, more people than ever are having to look further afield when it comes to making a land purchase to build their dream home.

While many of our clients purchase land in areas they never considered before and end up loving their life there, it might be worth reevaluating your options if a certain location means that much to you.

For example, in New York and New Jersey, many older buildings have fallen into disrepair and require complete redevelopment. In this case, it can be worth inquiring with a reputable firm about how this process might work.

Whether you choose to build from scratch or redevelop an existing property, all that matters is that you select a plot you know will work for you.

How Argo Construction and Development can help:

At Argo Construction and Development, we’ve worked on a variety of projects, including both new builds and redevelopments. With an expert team of architects and industry professionals, we’re well-versed in helping you bring your dream residential or commercial property to life.

From land purchasing to full site development, our full-service packages aim to help you feel more confident with your construction choices. 

To find out more, contact our team to discuss your next steps.

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