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Site Characteristics & Value


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Nantucket properties may pose unique valuation challenges for both a seller and a buyer, particularly when a site has certain characteristics that may impact its ultimate value due to restrictions on expansion, septic capacity, or other traits that are intertwined with local regulations and restrictions.

A comprehensive understanding of a property’s potential and/or limitations will not only better frame a property’s value, but it will start the design and building process off on the right foot. There’s no better time spent than engaging a team of experts, and your Fisher team member can introduce you to many of them to answer some of the most complicated nuances of island properties. For instance, civil engineers can be invaluable to understanding the placement of buildings on a lot as they relate to lot boundaries, endangered species surveys, and septic systems. Your broker can then help you parse out site characteristics that may impact property values.

Engineers interpret site-specific survey data to put building plans to life, coordinating with building contractors, utility companies, and even landscapers to ensure that the placement of buildings, infrastructure, and hardscaping are situated in the ideal locations on a site. Engineers and surveyors will review your deed along with other documents and provide a professional opinion of the boundaries of a lot. They can stake the property or set other boundary markers, and identify the location of any buildings in relation to the lot boundaries when creating an as-built plan. They can prepare existing conditions surveys and flood certificates as a basis for new construction or improvements, which is especially critical on Nantucket and other coastal areas. Building envelopes and setbacks in the vicinity of coastal banks, wetlands, and other areas of environmental concern, such as areas containing endangered species, must be strictly adhered to.

Also very common on Nantucket but perhaps not in other areas are private septic systems. Septic capacity is set according to zoning regulations and lot size, and an engineer will provide comprehensive information on septic allowances and help in the permitting process.

There are various scenarios that prompt the need for a survey, such as when buying or selling real estate, before subdivision of a lot, as a part of a mortgage loan inspection, or before building new structures or expanding the current footprint. Additionally, surveys are the jumping-off point for more in-depth projects such as drainage planning, wetlands mapping, and utility placement, whether above-ground or subsurface. Finally, surveys can help solve disputes when a property line may be in question, or an encroachment is suspected. Your broker can provide you with a list of local engineers and surveyors to ensure that whether you are buying or selling, you are educated and informed on a property’s potential.