Ron Denhaan, Realtor (949) 290-3263. Orange County real estate specialist.
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Lots and land for sale in Orange County, CA

Orange County, CA Lots and Land

Whether you want to build your own home, start a horse ranch, or just put some space between you and your neighbors, nothing compares with buying your own lot and building you own home. Orange County still offers many opportunities to purchase a piece of land and build your dream home. The biggest advantage of buying a piece of land is that you can choose your own location. The second advantage is that you can construct your own custom home. You design your own floor plan, features, and amenities. The MLS search links on this page will help you find lots, land for custom homes, horse property, acreage, home sites, bank owned land for sale, and build-able lots and parcels throughout Orange County, CA. There are also links for Orange County bank owned or REO lots and land, and land with seller or owner financing. Call me if you are looking vacant lots for sale in Orange County, CA! 

Land loans are available through US Bank. Contact me here for details.

You may also be interested in this web page: Homes for sale with large lots   

South OC land parcel

Lots by city

Orange County South - Nice lots and large land parcels are becoming scarce in this part of the county, but there are still a few custom home and building sites, plus lots with reasonable acreage available. In gate guarded Coto de Caza, lots are still available in Los Ranchos Estates, the Village, and Masters Collection. Ladera Ranch has a good number of custom lots available in exclusive, gated Covenant Hills. In San Juan Capistrano, you can find equestrian lots and home sites in communities such as Stone Ridge Estates. Though largely built out, a few parcels remain in the Laguna Hills equestrian community of Nellie Gail Ranch. This is a good opportunity to purchase a custom lot in one of South Orange County's most desirable areas.

Coastal / Beach Area -  If you dream of building a home on a custom lot with forever ocean views, a beach area lot may be for you. The following links will help you locate lots, acreage, custom home sites, parcels, horse properties, and land for sale in Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Laguna Niguel, Costa Mesa, Corona Del Mar, Sunset Beach, Dana Point, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, Oceanside, and other coastal locations.

North OC -  If your preference is the North part of the County, there are still may lots available in cities such as Tustin, Villa Park, Yorba Linda, Irvine, and Anaheim Hills. Use the following links to find available lots, properties, and land for sale in Tustin, Fullerton, Anaheim Hills, Irvine, Santa Ana, Villa Park, or Yorba Linda. Many of these properties have large acreage or equestrian zoning. 

Canyon Areas - If you are someone who is looking for a getaway location; an area that is rustic and woodsy, yet still close to the conveniences and amenities of the city, a  lot in Trabuco, Modjeska, or Silverado Canyon may be for you. These locations are suitable for projects as small as a weekend cabin, or as large as an equestrian ranch or elaborate estate. Orange Park Acres is also a popular area for horse property or an equestrian estate. 

* Note: I have a new FAQ page for buying and building on lots in the canyons here.

New Specialty Searches

I have added a number of specialty searches based on requests I have had from buyers for certain property types. While there are not too many bank owned and REO lots and land for sale in Orange County, they do exist and may be a good buy, For seller financing, current owners may be offering to carry a primary or second mortgage. Seller terms vary, so contact me to find out specific terms on each property. I have also included links for water front and ocean view lots, lots in gated communities, horse property lots, and lots by acerage. 

By Acerage

Search for lots and land by acreage, below.    

* 20 acres+ will be mostly inland empire locations with only a handful or Orange County locations



When buying a lot, where do I begin?

You are interested in buying a piece of land in order to build your dream home. Where do you begin? As one author states, "Land can be deceptively complicated" - There are many steps to go through in order to determine of a lot is the right one for your purposes. Once you have located a lot you are interested in, 

1) Read through the "factors to consider before buying land", below. Determining the zoning is one of the first steps. This will tell you want the land can be used for and if it is suitable for your intended purpose. You will also want to check if there are utilities to the property (water, gas, electric, etc), are there any setbacks or restrictions?, is there access to a sewer or will you need septic? How many tests have already been conducted? Are there home plans in place?

2) Get further educated on the process. I have a number of links below with articles on land purchasing, what to look out for, etc. 

3) Review the specific plans for the area you are interested in using the resources links below. For example if you are contemplating the purchase of a lot in Trabuco Canyon, you'll want to review the Foothill-Trabuco Specific Plan, which will tell you about requirements, restrictions, environmental issues, etc. The Orange County General plans will include links to many of the cities and areas.

4) Call the local planning department. The phone number can be found by going to the city (or County) web site. If you give them an address or APN number of the property, they can usually provide you a lot of information on the property. 



Factors to Consider Before Buying Land

Framed home in Orange County There are a number of factors to consider before buying a piece of land
  • Zoning Requirements

    Check with local authorities (city, county and state) to determine zoning ordinances and whether you can build the type of home you want before committing to buying the land. For example, some communities may not permit construction of any structure on parcels smaller than 20 acres. Ask about future zoning, whether there are plans to put in shopping centers or airports, or to change nearby land uses that could also devalue your land.

  • Natural Hazards

    Obtain a natural hazard disclosure and look for soil problems. A disclosure will tell you if the land is a protected habitat, which would prohibit building. Is the area a known fire hazard? Is the fire department supported solely by volunteers? Many owners in the country maintain private ponds for fire emergencies.

  • Elevation

    If the land is located near hills, how likely is the land to move? Some slab foundations can crack if the land is unstable. Find out if your parcel lies within the path of a potential landslide. For construction near bodies of water, you might want to consider building a raised foundation and make sure to buy flood insurance. If the land was once a swamp, ask neighbors about the condition of their foundations.

  • Easements

    If access to your land is provided by driving across an adjoining parcel, you should obtain an easement and make sure it is recorded. Find out who maintains the roads and what your prorata share might cost for upkeep. What rights do neighbors have to cross your land? Are the boundaries clearly marked? Obtain title insurance, which will disclose easements and restrictive covenants or conditions. You might want to order a survey of the land.

  • Utilities

    Water is important. Not all water is potable. Sometimes water rights don't "run with the land," which would mean you could not dig a well. Find out the depth of your water table and determine the difficulty of digging. Is the ground mostly rock? It can be costly to bring electricity, telephone or cable services to the property if they are not already established nearby. Will you need to install a propane tank? Consider a generator for back-up during power outages. If you cannot hook up to a sewer, what will it cost to install a septic system?

  • Appraisal

    It's common to pay cash for land. If you're not planning to finance the land purchase through a conventional lender, which will require a lender appraisal, then obtain your own appraisal to determine an appropriate price before making an offer. Comparable sales are sometimes difficult to find when buying land.

  • Insurance

Insurability of a property is very important. In certain areas, insurance may be difficult to acquire, due to fire hazard, earthquake damage, or other cause. In this case, you may have to insure through California Fair Plan or other insurer. Fair Plan is a private association based in Los Angeles comprised of all insurers licensed to write property insurance in California. They can often provide insurance coverage in areas that other insurers will not cover.

Types of tests commonly used 

Percolation test (perc test) is a test to determine the absorption rate of soil for a septic drain field or "leach field". The results of a percolation test are required to properly design a septic system. In its broadest terms, percolation testing is simply observing how quickly a known volume of water dissipates into the subsoil of a drilled hole of known surface area. While every jurisdiction will have its own laws regarding the exact calculations for the length of line, depth of pit, etc., the testing procedures are the same. Read more about perc testing here.

Slope stability analysis is performed to assess the safe design of a human-made or natural slopes (e.g. embankments, road cuts, excavations, etc) and the equilibrium conditions. Slope stability s the resistance of inclined surface to failure by sliding or collapsing. The main objectives of slope stability analysis are finding endangered areas, investigation of potential failure mechanisms, determination of the slope sensitivity to different triggering mechanisms, designing of optimal slopes with regard to safety, reliability, and  designing possible remedial measures, e.g. barriers and stabilization (retaining walls, etc)

Soil testing is usually performed by a geotechnical engineer in order to understand the soil's reactivity and to check for chemical or physical conditions that might be detrimental to your future house. Soil reactivity refers to how much the soil on the site is likely to move, expand and contract, as a result of moisture content.



(Many links load slowly so be patient)

California Fair Plan - Insurance coverage for the canyon areas
Foothill Trabuco Specific Plan - Guidelines for building in the canyons (large file so be patient)
Foothill Trabuco Specific Plan land use map
Silverado-Modjeska Specific Plan
Silverado-Modjeska plan map
Land loans are available through US Bank. Contact me here for details.


Please call me if you are interested in a custom lot, home site, raw land, acreage, land parcels, view lots, custom home sites, or horse properties anywhere in Orange County, California. Custom building lots, Orange County CA.

Ron Denhaan, Realtor           

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Ron Denhaan, Realtor

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