Recent News

The Dos and Don’ts of Land Subdivision
The Dos and Don’ts of Land Subdivision

Landowners with significant property acreage and no plans for construction might consider selling that land for profit! However, selling a large portion of land can be challenging, as fewer buyers are willing to purchase. In such scenarios, landowners have subdivided their land and sold it off in parts. While this can be an effective strategy for your property sale, subdividing land can backfire if not done correctly. Thankfully, Austin Engineering understands the dos and don’ts of land subdivision. Here’s what you need to know about subdivision and a few tips on how to best manage the division of your property.

Why Consider Subdivision?

As already mentioned, the idea of selling multiple, smaller pieces of property can be easier than selling one large parcel of land. Truthfully, it all depends on the current trends of your local real estate market. If contractors or those interested in land ownership have been snatching up land for residential construction, you’re in luck!

Additionally, you might consider land subdivision if it means making more money from property sales. While land value will stay relatively the same before and after division, individual pieces of property can be negotiated differently. The parts of your land can be more valuable than the whole of your property itself!

Or, you might wish to subdivide your land because you have no use for all of it. Landowners who find themselves inheritors of their family farm might not know what to do with their newly acquired land. In another scenario, a homeowner might be sitting on a couple of acres of property but only requires half of it. It seems the obvious choice to separate and sell the portion of land you don’t wish to use.

How to Achieve Successful Land Subdivision

Land subdivision might seem like your best option for selling land. However, zoning laws, property restrictions, and more can quickly complicate subdivision plans. There are more than a few horror stories where subdivision plans have fallen through, and landowners are left footing the bill. Thus, it’s crucial to ensure you perform due diligence before subdividing your land.

  • DO: Check for property restrictions – Many subdivision plans have been derailed due to local land restrictions or other limitations. Common subdivision hurdles include neighborhood covenants, ordinances, restrictions outlined in your property deed, etc.
  • DON’T: Forget about zoning – As a part of due diligence, it’s important to check if there are no specific zoning restrictions that apply to your property. It’s also worth noting what’s required for a lot to meet residential or commercial zone requirements.
  • DO: Pay attention to lot layout – Just because you’re selling a smaller plot of land doesn’t mean it fits the standards for your average property buyer. You must determine the appropriate size and layout for your lot that allows it to meet all regulations and remain marketable.
  • DON’T: Divide your land without consulting with an expert – Your lot seems to fit all local land development, zoning and municipality requirements, but is it still a marketable piece of property? Land development experts like Austin Engineering can provide helpful insight into current market demands, average property costs, additional requirements you should consider, and other subdivision hindrances.
  • DO: Consider local utilities and property access – What utilities and roadway access might have been sufficient for your whole property might not work for separate parcels of land. If your proposed lots don’t have proper access to utilities and public/private roadways, they won’t be of much worth to contractors or home builders.
  • DON’T: Cut corners when dividing lots and updating infrastructure – While you might think of maximizing your profits by limiting lot sizes (to increase the number of lots) or providing the bare minimum for utilities and access, consider the repercussions of such actions. As mentioned previously, you want to ensure individual lots are marketable. If a lot is smaller than average local properties, only accessible by a dirt road, or other such complaints, you might not find a buyer.
  • DO: Budget accordingly – By planning ahead for your subdivision project, you can ensure you are ready to manage the costs. Every subdivision is different and price can change due to project size and other circumstances. Explain the scope of your project to Austin Engineering, and we can help you determine its cost range.
  • DON’T: Underestimate the cost – If you’re not careful, a subdivision project’s price can quickly skyrocket. Unforeseen circumstances can lead to surprise costs and fees. For example, you must consider platting costs, local application fees, the cost to construct improvements, tax map updating fees, survey costs and more. Now your “simple” subdivision can cost tens of thousands to complete! Thankfully, Austin Engineering can help you assess the cost before you begin.

Talk to Austin Engineering

If there’s one piece of advice we can’t emphasize enough, it’s to ensure you have the support of a land development expert. Local real estate and property development requirements are already challenging enough to understand. At Austin Engineering, it’s our job to manage land development from inception to completion, subdivision being one part of this process.

Or, if interested in Austin Engineering’s other civil engineering, landscape design and property surveying services, contact us today. The first consultation for your proposed project is always free, with no obligation. We presently work with clients throughout the country, with offices in Peoria IL, Davenport IA, and Chattanooga TN.

311 SW Water St, Ste 215, Peoria, IL 61602
Phone: 309-204-0694

220 Emerson Place, Ste 101-A, Davenport, IA 52801
Phone: 563-207-4605

2115 Stein Dr, Ste 207, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Phone: 423-379-2725