How do you choose a vacant lot?

Acreage and Location

One of the biggest decisions in purchasing a vacant lot is choosing exactly how much land you want to buy. Land is typically measured in acres, which are 43,560 square feet (4,047 square meters) each, or about the size of a football field. One square mile is equal to 640 acres. That's a ton of land. If you're interested in building a house outside an urban area, you'll come across lots ranging from less than an acre to many dozens of acres. You'll have to decide for yourself how much land you want. Looking for a huge yard and seclusion? Several acres may be to your liking.

In highly-populated areas where vacant land is usually harder to come by, expect to pay more per acre. The land is more valuable because it's closer to a population center where finding undeveloped lots can be more difficult. The downside to such an advantageous location, of course, is that you could end up paying as much for a quarter of an acre in the city as you'd pay for multiple acres in the country or suburbs.

Sounds like it's hard to know exactly how much you should be paying, right? Hard, but not impossible. Here's an important tip: Locate your local tax assessor's office Web site online (they're usually divided up by county), where you'll be able to browse through records to find property sales in your area. By determining the selling prices of other land in the area, you can establish an idea of how much the land you're looking at is worth [source: Georgia Assessors].

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