In the 1986 comedy "The Money Pit," a young Tom Hanks finds himself struggling to repair a decrepit mansion that's falling apart around him. The gigantic house seems like a good deal at first -- until the staircase starts collapsing and chimneys begin caving in. Important lesson: Never buy a house without doing your homework. And buying vacant land may not be exactly the same as buying a house, but similar rules apply. You should always know what you're getting yourself into and how much it costs to build a house.
Buying a vacant lot is an important and complex decision, just like any real estate purchase. For starters, there are plenty of reasons to buy a parcel of land. If you buy a house, it's probably so you can live in it; but with land, you could choose to build your own house, use the property as a long-term investment or even to start up a business. Property also introduces a host of issues you don't normally face when buying a house. There are all sorts of restrictions that could apply to a vacant lot -- you might not be able to build a house on it at all.
Whatever your intentions, there's plenty to know before investing in property. Here are 10 of them, including everything from the basic expenses and city ordinances to land surveys and easements.