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Check from Satellite to Street: Tip #3 for Buying Lots and Land

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So you’ve put some thought into the style of your neighborhood, the general area where you want to live and the type of builder you will consider using to build your new home. Now the fun begins! You can start to actually locate the specific building lot or land where your new home will live.

Due Diligence:  It’s a Process

If you’ve done some online searches on, you likely have found several building lots for sale that you think could be the perfect lot for you. Now you must determine if a particular lot really is what you want or need. So before you sign that purchase contract, you should do some due diligence.

Due diligence is the investigation process before making a purchase. Early due diligence activities can help eliminate properties that have “deal breaker” issues or won’t meet your needs. Other due diligence activities are more technical, like having a professional do title research for you, and can be done later after the property is under contract when the terms of the contract allow your approval as a condition to closing. Real estate agents or builders can help you with due diligence and often have the local inside scoop.

Using Satellite Images for Research when buying residential lots


Passing the Spaghetti Test

First let’s talk about the broader, early research that will help determine if you are ready to keep moving forward with a particular lot. We have nicknamed this process the “Spaghetti Test,” because it’s like throwing cooked spaghetti on the wall to see if it will stick.

Starting the Spaghetti Test is not difficult, and this is an area where technology is your best friend and can help you discover problems – or confirm that all is well – using satellite-view or street-view.

Use satellite images of properties to get a feel for what is adjacent to the lot, near the neighborhood and in the general area. Maybe you never knew there was a industrial area located a few parcels away from the back of the neighborhood because you never drive by it when entering. You could discover that the beautiful land for sale is priced so well because there’s a pig farm just upwind or noisy ball fields behind that treeline.’s maps and other online tools like Google Maps can let you see what’s two miles away as easily as what’s next door. You also can go on the local municipality website and do research to see what the zoning and proposed uses are for nearby land. Consider whether the potential uses concern you. Hopefully you find your ideal building lot and the surrounding area is everything you hoped for. Follow this link for another article that includes helpful information about using online satellite mapping tools in real estate.

Use the Spaghetti Test to eliminate the properties that do not meet your requirements. Then you can take the next research steps to find the perfect residential lot for you. Read on to Tip #4 and see how we start digging deeper into due diligence, when we discuss in-person site visits and what to look for when you are there.

Be sure to check out our page dedicated to Tips & Resources for Buying Lots & Land, where we provide helpful resources for lot and land buyers and tips about using to help you in your search.

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