Buying land in Ontario could be an intimidating process. You never know what could go wrong. There are plenty of elements to consider before buying vacant land in Ontario. According to the National Association of Realtors, there has been an increase in the purchase of land by 6%. Vacant lands still are the best real estate investment option. After buying land in Ontario, you have full control over what you want to do with the land. You can build your dream house, use it as a commercial space if the concerned zone permits or use it as an investment to eventually sell it. Having a clear idea about what you want to do with your land will help you narrow down your options. 

Because we understand the anxiety of first-time land buyers, here is a detailed guide of things you need to keep in mind before you buy land in Ontario. 

Verify Requirements For Zoning 

Verify Requirements For Zoning 

Zoning regulations are a set of rules which are decided by the local government body that determines what you are allowed to do or not to do with your real estate investment. Zoning requirements are mainly safety regulations for a concerned area. It could include restrictions on the height and width of the house, how far the house should be from the sidewalk, if you can install a pool or a garage, etc. 

Zoning requirements are especially important for waterfront developments. Since homes being close to water are a hamartia, the construction should be at a considerable distance from the water body. You can check the zoning requirements by going to the website of the municipality of your area. If you are satisfied with the information online, you can check with the municipal office directly. 

Where Can I Find Land For Sale?

Where Can I Find Land For Sale

The hunt for land is tough. The availability of options can quickly overwhelm you as a first-time buyer. A good place to start is to make a list of things you are looking for in a house/commercial property/investment. You can use the below-mentioned resources to find vacant land in Ontario. 

  • Websites For Real Estate

Using real estate websites to buying land in Ontario is the fastest and easiest way to choose your future property. The following websites have compiled data on the best vacant lands in Ontario. Square Yards aims to help you find the best-suited land for your requirement. Our directory has a plethora of options for you to choose from. We cater to the needs of our customers diligently and make the process of buying land a breeze. All you need to do is view your options. Our experts will guide you through the process and make your land purchase processes seamless. 

  • Agents For Real Estate 

Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents make the process of land hunting easy. They have access to Multiple Listings Services (MLS) for choosing the best house for their client. Most real estate agents also have access to off-market listings through their connections. An experienced agent can help you to fasten the process of your land purchase. Since they have many contacts and a fair idea about the raw land, the whole procedure becomes easy. It is advised that you hire an agent who has an Accredited Land Resource designation from the Realtors Land Institute. These agents are qualified to ease your land purchase process. 

  • Resources in Your Area

Many properties are directly listed by the owners on online directories and newspapers. Local sources also include contacting the owner of the house directly. You can go to the County Assessor’s official website and find contact information about land owners on the Geographic Information System. Also, keep an eye out for county deed auctions. These lands once belonged to the owners who failed to pay property tax. Such lands are auctioned off at heavy discounts. 

Obtain Subdivider’s Agreement

Subdivider’s Agreement carries restrictions and regulations for lands under a specific subdivision. These are also known as restrictive covenants. The agreement usually has restrictions to regulate huge tracts of land. 

These agreements are in place to ensure a certain kind of uniformity among the houses of certain subdivisions. Some subdivider’s agreements are as strict as dictating the material and colour to be used on the exterior of the walls of your house or how big the garage of the house should be. 

Make sure you read the Subdivider’s Agreement carefully before starting any construction on the property. Some of the requirements need to be thoroughly vetted before you invest. These documents contain some restrictions which could have a repercussion in the future. If you have bought vacant land in Ontario in a location which has home associations, make sure you consider their rules and yearly fees too. 

Utilities and Location

Location of your new neighbourhood is the primary concern. If you are planning to build a home on the property make sure it is close to basic conveniences such as hospitals and clinics, grocery stores, schools, workplaces and universities. Preferably go for an area from where public transport is easily accessible. 

  • Utility of Access

When you decide to buying land in Ontario, check accessibility of the following utilities. 

    • In Ontario if you don’t have access to municipal water, you can use an off-grid water system or a well. 
    • Choose a location which is at an appropriate location from power lines. Do not invest in a property that is too close to the power lines. 
    • The vacant land you’ve bought should have a proper septic system. Have a proper count of the number of fixtures and drains in the house. If the property is in the outskirts, you might not be able to rely on the municipality’s septic system. 
    • Check whether there is any gas pipeline passing through the property. Check the land history. If there was a gas station on the property, don’t buy it since it can be bad for your foundation. 

Roadway Accessibility

Choose areas which are well-maintained and well-connected to highways. Make sure that the inner roads are also maintained well. If your property is cut off from the roadways, you may have to get a road to your property constructed. 

Soil Test

Hire a geotechnical engineer for a soil test to pass the percolation test. If the soil test result is positive it means that it can properly absorb water and can contain septic systems. You will need to build a double footing if the soil is sandy. However it is good for installing a drainage system. Since sand is used around septic beds. 

Historic Evidence Natural Disasters

Check the history of natural disasters in your area. If the land is tornado, flooding, wildfire-free, only then invest in the land. Hire a geotechnical and structural engineer to help you understand the potential threats and solutions of your land. 

Environment Safety 

To check whether your land falls in the conservation zone contact the closest conservation officer, especially if you live near a water body. If your land is close to a jungle make sure it is not a habitat of any wild animal or endangered plant species. Keep in mind to check if the land comes under the protection of the archeological society. 

Land Purchase Restrictions

Before you buying a land in Ontario, make sure you check all the zoning requirements, subdivision’s agreements and housing association’s rules and regulations. Have a clear understanding of how you want to use the land. These regulations dictate what you can build or not build on your land. The height and width of the house, how far should the garage be from the sidewalk and what colour should you paint your house.

Land Financing Options

Procuring finance for vacant or raw land is much more difficult. The bank and other financial institutions consider vacant land to be a tricky investment as compared to a fully developed property. A few options for financing land purchase are given below. 

  • Lot Loan

A lot loan would let you avail a loan without any immediate construction promise. The negative aspect of buying a lot loan is that you require to put down large down payments and higher interest rates. Lenders consider giving out lot loans to be much more riskier than giving out construction loans. 

  • Owner Financing 

The seller of the house can work a system out with you for payment of the house. The down payments are cheaper than the traditional methods, but the interest rates are high. 

  • Construction to Permanent Loan 

You can procure this loan if you are planning to construct immediately after you purchase the land. The CP loan allows cheaper down payment and lesser rate of interest. Before you apply for the construction loan, hire a licensed construction company to draft the plans of the building. 

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Is it a good idea to buy vacant land in Ontario?

Yes, the sale of vacant land in Canada has increased.

What are the negatives of buying land?

The process of buying land is excruciating. It is a long process.

Is it worth buying just land?

If you want to build your own house or use the land for investment purposes, it is worth buying.

Will land always go up in value?

The prices of the land purely depend on the real estate atmosphere of that time.

Where is the best place to buy land right now?

Hiring a real estate agent is the best way to buy land right now.

Can you negotiate on land prices?

Yes, you can negotiate on land prices.

Can I buy land in Ontario?

If you meet the legal conditions, you can buy in Ontario. The Ontario Real Estate and Business Brokers Act and the Ontario Land Titles Act apply to this province's real estate transactions.

Can you fully own land in Canada?

Land ownership in Canada is governed by specific legal frameworks and rules, such as those pertaining to property rights, zoning, and environmental protection. Although both individuals and organizations can acquire legal land ownership in Canada, the scope of that ownership may be constrained by a number of circumstances.

What do I need to know about buying land in Ontario?

You should bear a few crucial considerations in mind if you intend to purchase land in Ontario. First and foremost, it's critical to comprehend the local zoning laws before making a land purchase. Hiring a professional surveyor to ensure the property lines are accurately marked is also a good idea. To ensure everything is in order, you should review all the contracts and legal papers related to the acquisition with an experienced real estate attorney.

Is there a tax on land purchases in Ontario?

In Ontario, there is a tax called the Land Transfer Tax that is applied to land purchases.