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If you are determined to buy land to build on in this area, I would recommend the  following as minimum precautions: Work with Experts. Don’t even consider doing this on your own. You need to be working with a real estate agent or an attorney, preferably both, who have substantial experience with buying land in the specific local you are interested in. Purchase Contingent on a Building Permit. Make any purchase contract contingent on building permit approval by the relevant city or county authorities, and be certain to require that the terms and conditions of their approval must be satisfactory to you. Purchase Contingent on Verifying Construction Costs. Make any purchase contract contingent on your being satisfied with building costs and the costs of bringing utilities to the property. I have seen cases where power poles were located on an adjoining lot, yet the cost of bringing power to the       property was $12,000. Foundations can be extremely expensive if you need to blast rock. And if the county requires that you build a $30,000 access       road, you may not have any money left to build your house.