My wife and I have found a piece of property in the Adirondacks that we would like to purchase. It is zoned as residential, and the neighboring lot does have a home built on it. It is a wooded acre with no structures that slopes away from the road down to the back of the property. A brook is the rear property line, and flows into a lake about .5 mile away. We plan to eventually build a year-round house for both summer and winter vacations. The town does not supply water or sewer services, so I am limited to a well and septic system. I have a call into the local town hall to find out about zoning laws, especially about how close to the brook I can build a home and install a septic system. My question is this: what type of tests or inspections should/could I have performed on the property to give me ideas about where to build, what to build, and what special attention will have to be paid to issues like drainage, etc.? Also, is there a specific type of professional I should contact that performs this type of work? I am told that many people in the area make their offers contingent upon a number of things, including a perc test (can anybody explain what this is?). I would like to do the same, but want to make sure I have all my bases covered before signing away the money. I envision a home with a full basement, a small cleared yard, a garage, and a deck overlooking the brook.