The day has come, and you have finally decided to buy some land to build an acreage on, next step is find the right location and builder and bobs your uncle.

First thing, Location is very important and there are a few things to consider:

  •         Access.  Not every acreage lot is all it’s made out to be, occasionally unbeknownst to the buyer you could buy a lot that you won’t be able to build on the lot without upgrading the road.
  •         County / municipality approval.  If you bought land in an area close to an intensive live-stock operation, a couple of pipelines, an environmentally sensitive area, the county or municipality might not allow you to build the home you want to on the property.
  •         Utilities, is there access to power, a water well on the property with enough flow, if not is there water available on or to the property?  natural gas?  phone service in the area, either a Telus line, and or good cell service? and what is available for internet services. Last what are your septic options for the area.

First is the property on a secondary highway, county road on private access road. If its on the county road you need to consider line of line as to where the approach is, and distance to an intersection.  I have seen acreages that you need to access the property where there is low area that collects water, and the cost to build a driveway was quite expensive.  Highways and private drives are even more difficult and expensive.  I have seen properties where there was a private drive, but in order to grant approval of a development permit, the county required the landowner to build ½ mile of county grade road for $250,000. On highways Alberta transportation must approve all approaches and the scope, size, and location of the approach, so buyer beware.

Second, I would recommend is determine the property you eventually want to have on the property.  Its not un-common for a person to buy land and move a mobile home on it, with the intent to build later.  Its best to think of how you envision it in the long term and start your design for that.   Everything from transformer size, water capacity, and septic systems are designed for number of bedrooms, and size of the home and out-buildings on the property.  Its more money to this, but the cost goes up overtime, and best to get it in place. 

Third, you need to consider the setback on the property, for the well, the home, the outbuildings the power and the water well.  I knew an individual that built a beautiful riding area, with a live-in quarter and the intent to build a home in the future.  When they went to build the home, they learnt that couldn’t because of the setbacks from county roads, and pipelines there wasn’t a large enough footprint anywhere on the property to build on.

The solution to all the above, have a detailed plan in place, inform your realtor what you want in a property and there are things that can be done prior to writing an offer at no cost such as reaching out to the power provider and learn what the requirements will be, same with cost to get natural gas to the property, is there cell service and internet service in the area.  Ask the realtor to find out if the property is in an environmentally sensitive area such as a nature reserve, flood plain and arrange for the realtor to set up a meeting with the planning department at the municipality. Next, in the offer, make it subject to approval of the development permit, for your short term and long-term plans.  

All of this comes at a cost, so please take time to look through our Blog, there are a number of service providers that you can reach out to for pricing on building your roads, installing your septic system, drilling a water well, and determine the water conditioning that might be required for the area. 

Also check out the utility provider blog, for contacts of potential service providers in the area you are planning build, some charge per metre, some charge per pole for power, some it’s a flat fee.  Its helpful to not run into surprises. 


Feel free to call or email if you have any questions, I would be more then happy to help you get through this with as little surprises as possible.

Posted by David Doyle on


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