If you’re interested in building your dream home, one of your first and most important steps is finding your dream lot. Buying a lot to build on can be more difficult than you might think, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before you can declare a certain lot to be the best place to build your dream home. The suggestions below will help you gather the right information and will empower you to make the best decision for you and your family when choosing where to build your home.
Call Your Local Zoning Department
Getting in touch with your local zoning department is a crucial step. There’s a lot that they can tell you about the land that you are looking at and can give you information about it that can make or break your decision. Ask them the following questions to make the most of your call with them:
- What is the zoning classification of this lot?
- What is the zoning classification of the lots around this lot?
- What is the highest and best use of this lot?
- What are the designated building setbacks for this lot?
Your local zoning department’s responses to these questions will tell you what you’re able to build on the lot you’re considering, as well as what could possibly be built around you. You’ll likely not want to live around commercial lots and end up living in a neighborhood of businesses in a few years. You’ll also know what your building restrictions are on this lot, however, if you are buying in an HOA, you will also want to gather the HOA’s CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions) for a complete listing of lot and neighborhood restrictions.
Have an Environmental Study & Land Survey Performed
Prior to purchasing your lot, you’ll want to be sure that there aren’t any harmful chemicals, hazardous materials, or contaminated water or soil that could potentially endanger you or your family. You’ll also want to be sure that your lot isn’t located in a potential flooding zone and that, in the case of heavy rain, the soil on your property is able to absorb the moisture. You can determine this by having a Phase 1 Environmental Study performed.
You’ll also want to have the land surveyed to identify your property boundaries. In some cases, neighbors may not realize that they are infringing on your property, or if there are a lot of vacant lots around you, you’ll want to be sure where your property ends and your neighbors begins.
There is a fee associated with an environmental study and a property survey, so most properties will already have those available for you. Be sure to check when they were performed, if they are outdated, you may want to have them redone.
Confirm Utilities and Road Access
Confirming that your lot has access to basic utilities may seem silly. However, if you’re planning to buy a lot in a more rural area, it’s a very serious and crucial thing to consider. Make sure you won’t have to pay to get access to utilities like water, electricity, sewage, gas, and telephone access to your home, which can be extremely time consuming and can add thousands of dollars to the cost of your project.
Consider the Home Value of the Other Homes in the Neighborhood
Before purchasing a lot to build your dream home on, you’ll want to be sure that you CAN build your dream home on it. Consider the value of the other homes in the neighborhood. Would your home value once built greatly exceed your neighbor’s? Lenders take the neighborhood value into consideration when evaluating your home designs for a construction loan, and if your designs are projecting a value way more than the other homes, you’re not likely to be approved for the loan.
Work with People who Have Experience
There are a number of fantastic real estate agents out there, but if you’re set on building your own home, you’ll want to work with someone who has experience purchasing vacant lots. That way, they can help you through the process and be available for any questions regarding your specific situation.
The same goes for finding a loan officer. You’ll want to work with a loan officer who has the knowledge and resources to make your construction loan process as smooth as possible. If you’re looking for a knowledgeable loan officer to act as a resource throughout your home construction, request a mortgage consultation.