You must take the same care when buying land as you would when buying a home. If you are building on the land, it is particularly important to ensure that the land has been approved for building, and that the plot is large enough and suitable for the house you plan to build.
You should also check whether there are restrictions on the type of building which may be constructed. In scenic areas, for example, there may be limits on a building’s height. Some plots are unsuitable for building as they’re too steep or require prohibitively expensive foundations. Also check that there aren’t any obstructions such as high-tension electricity lines, water pipes or rights of way which may restrict building. Note that the cost of providing services to a property in a remote rural area can be prohibitive and it must have a reliable water supply. It’s also worth checking whether a plot is in an area where there are high levels of radon gas.
It may be possible to build on agricultural land, but it will depend on whether you’re an EU citizen and whether the land has been zoned for house building. Although there are theoretically no restrictions on EU citizens purchasing land in Ireland, the authorities may insist that farm land is retained as such and not purchased for conversion into residential or commercial property.
If you’re a non-EU citizen, you may need written consent from the Land Commission to buy agricultural land, although obtaining such consent is more or less a formality and it’s rarely, if ever, withheld. You will need to obtain Form NQ1 from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The minimum plot that can be built on is usually 2,000m2 (half an acre) with a frontage of at least 60m (200ft).
Before buying land for building, you should obtain a land registry map to certify that the plot has been properly registered. Ensure also that the purchase contract is dependent on obtaining the necessary planning permission and check for yourself that the correct planning permission is obtained (don’t simply leave it to the builder). If planning permission is flawed, you may have to pay extra to improve the local infrastructure; the property may even need to be demolished!
If you would like us to help you, or if you would simply like to have a chat to discuss your options about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.