Topanga Real Estate, 369 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd,
Catherine Campbell's cell 310-663-9039
Barbara Campbell's Cell 310-383-1786
Building your Dream in Topanga or Malibu

Here are somethings to consider when buying vacant land to build your dream home


 A large portion of Topanga & Malibu is under the jurisdiction of The California Coastal Commission.

The Coastal Commission's primary mission is to plan for and regulate land and water uses in the coastal zone consistent with the policies of the Coastal Act.  All of Topanga is is regulated by the County, Building and Safety Department. The mission of the Department of Building and Safety is to protect the lives and safety of the residents and visitors of Los Angeles, preserve the City's quality of life, and contribute to the City's economic development. This is accomplished through implementation of the Zoning, Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical Codes, as well as Engineering, Energy, and Disabled Access regulations, and local and State laws for construction and maintenance of commercial, industrial, and residential buildingsCounty is also involved in all property in Topanga & Malibu  addition many parcels that are not within Coastal Commission boundaries  may also be subject to a recently approved Grading and Ridgeline Ordinance.


When looking at vacant land to build that perfect home please keep in mind that a considerable investment of time, money and effort are required by the buyer and seller to conduct all necessary investigations to deem a property buildable.


Below is a list  (in a suggested order, but not necessarily complete) of items needed or to be considered before building on vacant land. 



  1. Fire Department: the Driveway/access to the property and building site must conform to the Fire Department regulations.  This is an especially important consideration that can cost little or nothing to have them tell you what you may need, but the information they give is crucial in determining the cost effectiveness, the area on the property that the building site should be or could be built and the need to have a turn around or fire hydrant etc. built/installed.  Call us for more information numbers etc. 
  2. Survey: A survey to determine the boundaries of the property.  This allows you to “see” where set backs are, and helps in determining areas to build.
  3. Geology Report:  This will determine the stability of the land, whether the land would support a home and what the requirements maybe to build that home. Please feel free to call for more details.
  4. Soils and percolation test:  Almost all of Topanga properties are on Septic systems. Determining that the property will support a System at all and if it will allow for a system big enough for the desired size of the home/homes to be built.
  5. Water (wells or county) & electricity: Most of Topanga is hooked up to the County water supply; some parcels will need wells.  If a well is needed a Hydrologist will determine if water is accessible and how much etc.  If county water is available a contractor can give an estimate how much it would cost to hook up to the system.  Electricity: a contractor can give a good faith estimate on how much it will cost to hook up to power supply.
  6. Approval: County (Building & Safety), Health Department (septic & wells) and most cases Coastal Commission:  Most of Topanga is in the Coastal Commission so you would have to get approval from them as well as the other departments. Please call for numbers or more information
  7. National Parks, State Parks, and Fish & Game etc: Parcels close to any of these areas may have more restrictions.   Please call for more information or referrals, numbers etc.

 As a professional in the Real Estate Market , we are asked to recommend builders, architects, inspectors and engineers etc. Since we at Prudential have no official affiliations with any of our recommendations we are happy to provide you with a list of any or all of the above.

Topanga CanyonMalibuPacific Palisades

Sotheby's International Realty, 396 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga CA, 90290
369 S Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA, 90290 • Topanga, CA 90290
Catherine Campbell's cell 310-663-9039 • Barbara Campbell's Cell 310-383-1786
FAX 310-455-4074