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1 South Public Square
Room 200
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Monday to Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Planning:

P: (615) 898-7730
F: (615) 898-7823

Engineering:

P: (615) 898-7732
F: (615) 898-7823

New Home Buyer Questions About — The Lot

In buying a house you, as a purchaser, should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the yard higher or lower than the street?
    If the lot is lower than the street, you could have drainage problems and should do further research into the drainage patterns in the area. If the lot is higher than the street then it will most likely drain without any problems.

  2. Is the yard graded to slope away from the house?
    If the yard is not graded to slope away from the house, then the site will drain back to the house and could cause flooding type conditions for the property. Sloping the yard away from the house will provide positive drainage and make it less likely for the lot to have flood type conditions.

  3. Are there any sinkholes on the property?
    You need to walk the lot and make a determination as to the number and location of sinkholes on the property. Sinkholes can contribute to localized flooding and can enlarge in such a manner that the house and driveway may be impacted. Where there is one sinkhole you will most likely have others. Look carefully for they are sometimes hard to find.

  4. Does the area have a history of flooding problems?
    Ask the people who live in the subdivision about any existing flooding problems. In addition, check with the local city or county engineer to see what records they may have on flooding in the area.

  5. Is the HVAC unit located in a drainage easement?
    Check to make sure that there are no buildings or structures located in any drainage easements or ways. Check to make sure all ditches are free of obstructions and all drainage pipes are clear and do not impede the flow of water.

  6. What is the zoning on the lot and the surrounding properties?
    You need to contact your local Planning Department and find out how the area is zoned, particularly any vacant lots. As a general rule, you would be better off not buying next to vacant property. Be sure to ask about any permitted home occupations and conditional uses that have been approved in the general area.

  7. Are there any deed restrictions on the lot?
    Check with your realtor to find out what deed restrictions are on your lot. If the agent does not have that information, you can go to the courthouse and check with the register of deeds' office and get a copy of the deed restrictions for your lot if it is in a recorded subdivision.

  8. Is there a Home Owners Association and if so do they have required association fees?
    Some subdivisions have Home Owners Associations, which require each property owner to pay a monthly or annual fee to support the duties and responsibilities of the Association. You need to check it out. The fees can run as high as several hundreds of dollars. Find out exactly what are the responsibilities of the association. This can be found in the Bylaws, which should also be recorded in the register of deeds office.

  9. Is there a history of septic tank problems in the immediate area?
    Many times septic tank problems will not surface until the rainy season. As such, in order to determine if the house you are interested in has septic system problems you will need to check with the surrounding neighbors and also check with the local government department that is responsible for the approval and enforcement of the state septic tank rule and regulations.

  10. Does the Local Government Comprehensive Plan (Long Range Plans i.e. Land Use, Transportation Community Facilities, Recreation and Water and Sewer) impact the lot?
    Check with the local Planning Department to see what the Long-Range Plans are for the area in which the house you are considering is located.

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