The Property

There are many issues that can affect your property. It is important to research these issues before purchasing land.

  • Permits and Approvals: Construction of dwellings and most buildings in Grant County require County issued building permits and inspections prior to use or occupancy. The permitting process not only helps assure that your proposed project complies with applicable state construction codes, but also that it is consistent with other requirements regulating property divisions and uses such as setbacks, minimum frontage, potable water supply, and sewage disposal systems. Before commencing construction, obtain the appropriate permits for grading, flood plain development, County road access, and other activities that may require a permit.
  • Not all lots are buildable. Some parcels of land are separate for the purpose of taxation but are not legal lots for which a building permit can be issued. You must check with the Grant County Building and Planning Departments to verify whether you can build upon a piece of land.
  • Easements may require that you allow construction of roads, canals, power lines, water lines, sewer lines, etc., across your land. Check easement issues carefully.
  • Many property owners do not own the mineral rights under their property. Owners of mineral rights have the ability to change the surface characteristics in order to extract their minerals. It is very important to know what minerals may be located under the land and who owns them. Rural land in Grant County can be used for mining, subject to current land-use zoning standards. Be aware that adjacent mining uses can expand and cause negative impacts.
  • You may be provided with a plat of your property, but unless the land has been surveyed, had pins placed by a licensed surveyor, and been recorded with the County Auditor, you cannot assume that the plat is accurate.
  • Photo of scrub land with an old blown down fenceFences that separate properties may not accurately reflect property boundaries. A survey of the land is the only way to confirm the location of your property lines. Grant County does not verify the location of property lines or become involved in property line disputes.
  • Many subdivisions and planned unit developments have covenants that limit the use of the property. It is important to obtain a copy of the covenants (or confirm that there are none) and make sure that you can live with those rules. Grant County does not become involved in the enforcement of covenants.
  • Homeowners associations are often formed to take care of common elements such as private roads, open spaces, etc. Specifically: Grant County does not become involved with homeowner’s association disputes.
  • Dues are almost always a requirement of a homeowners association. The by-laws of the homeowners association generally tell you how the organization operates and how the dues are set.
  • Stormwater may flow through low areas at any time. If you build in these low areas you may be flooded; if you fill in these low areas you may be relocating floodwaters that could cause problems for others. Be aware of low areas on your property that are likely areas for storm waters.
  • If undeveloped, surrounding properties will probably not remain as they are today. Consult with the Grant County Planning Department to find out the comprehensive plan designation for the area. Check with the Planning Department to learn how neighboring properties are currently zoned and what future developments may be in the planning stages.
  • Water rights that are sold with the property may not give you the right to use the water without coordinating with the water district, a neighbor who also uses the water, the Department of Health, Washington State Department of Ecology, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, or the appropriate irrigation district. Other users may have senior rights to the water that may limit your use or require you to pay for improvements to the source.
  • It is important to make sure that any water rights you purchase with the land will provide enough water to maintain fruit trees, pastures, gardens, or livestock.
  • The water flowing in creeks or streams may belong to someone else. You cannot assume that because the water flows across your property, you can use it. Any use of surface water for any purpose requires a water rights certificate from the Department of Ecology (DOE).
  • Many creeks, streams, rivers, and wetlands are regulated by either the Grant County Shorelines Ordinance and/or the Grant County Critical Areas Ordinance. These regulations establish setbacks and buffer zones adjacent to these various bodies of water. Natural vegetation cannot be disturbed in these areas. If you are contemplating development on property near water, marsh, or other wet areas be sure to check with Grant County Planning Department before commencing any work.