John A. - you make a good point. When we buy a house we usually worry about the structure, with land you worry about water and soil, although if there is an older structure with asbestos and lead paint that we intend to remove, we have to worry about how we'll do that, too. I closed the biggest land deal of 2012 in Silicon Valley a few months ago and our toughest closing task was getting the former orchard cleared by the County agency in charge of chemical clean-ups (google "567 Maybell Avenue Palo Alto"). Less than $100,000 was spent (2.46 acres sold for $15.58M), but once a trace of chemicals was found the County protocol for contamination remediation kicked in. Luck was on our side - if the contamination was worse it could have cost 10 times that. Buyers should make sure that the site has been inspected and cleared before they get financially and emotionally involved in the property.