You found the perfect tract of land. It checked off all the boxes for you and your family. Your excited from the moment you saw it. Its 5 acres in size and located right on the water. Its has a few trees on it and you plan on removing some for your house, driveway and view. You plan on putting a dock on the property for your new 25 foot boat you bought last year. You call up your Realtor that sold you neighbors house in just one week to write an offer on the property. An offer is presented right away and the Seller accepts the contract as written. Great, that was easy!! You decided to sell some stock to fund your purchase and settlement is scheduled within 3 weeks. At settlement the Title company hands you a copy of the recorded plat which you briefly look at considering all the lines, x marks, and abbreviations. Everyone shakes hands and congratulates each other. In the next two weeks you start searching for house plans and a builder. You finally agree on a house plan and have your builder chosen. The builder request a meeting the following week and he asked you to bring all the information you have on the property. The day has come and you excited to meet the builder. There are so many questions you have prepared for them, like the size and position of the master to capture the views, additional bedrooms, kitchen layout, etc. You hand over the information you have for the builder including the plat the Title company gave you. You are sitting at the edge of your seat ready to tell him everything you want to do when the builder starts to ask questions, Do you had a delineation for NTW (non-tidal wetlands)?, Where is the SRA (Septic reserve area)?, Do you have a percolation test or copy of the approved SRA from the County’s Environmental Department? You point to the plat and say “isn’t it on there?”. The builder has concerns but you cut in and start talking about all that you want to do with this great piece of property. At the end of the meeting the Builder says that he needs to do some research on this property and would get back to me within a week. After great anticipation the builder finally calls. He explains that the property does not have a percolation test and can only be tested in the winter months during the wet season which is 6 months away!! He precedes to tell you the house must be positioned 300 feet from the water because it is in a resource conservation area (RCA) Critical Bay Area Regulations. The trees you were planning on taking down for the view cannot be removed as there is a strictly enforced 100 foot buffer starting from mean high tide water line and you must let it grow up naturally undisturbed. The shoreline that you planned on placing a bulkhead and dock on must go through rigid process to be approved which you later find out only a natural rock living bulkhead can be put there. You are restricted to only 240 sq.ft of dock space which will not accommodate your plans for an Gazebo, not to mention the water depth is not deep enough to put a lift for your new boat. After hiring a consultant and surveyor 3 months pass and you finally receive the survey with the delineation for NTW. Bad news there is NTW area spread all over the lot in various locations. How can that be as there was no standing water on the lot and it looked dry as a bone. The consultant explains, it’s about the hydraulics of the soil and the vegetation that grows on it that determines if it is NTW or not. Permits will need to be pulled from MDE (Maryland Dept. of the Environment) if we decide to disturb any of the NTW locations. The surveyor states the SWM (Stormwater Management) pond will need to go where you planned on putting your detached 3 car garage. As you continue to get educated by the professionals the builder suggested you hire, you start to ponder and realize why you bought this tract at such a reasonable price compared to the others you saw. Buying raw unimproved land is not an easy undertaking and may just be the most difficult purchase you can make. It doesn’t have to be though if you follow the Do’s and Don’ts of buying land in Maryland. The Do is hiring a Realtor that has years of experience in land transactions and the don’ts in working one that is not.