15 Things to Consider When Choosing Land for Your Custom Home
Buying land may sound like a small part of building a custom home, but it's actually a very important piece of the home building process. From lot size to utilities, there's a lot to think about when seeking the right lot on which to build. If you've never bought land before, this list of factors to consider can help get you on the right track, making it possible to buy land that will be suitable for your future custom home.
1. Proximity to Services and Neighbors
Whether to buy in town or in a rural area is one of the first decisions that you'll have to make when trying to buy land for your custom home. Life near neighbors isn't always quiet, but it can bring a feeling of safety, security and community. In addition, living near services like doctors and businesses can be convenient, save gas and can help keep you safe if you happen to need urgent medical care. If privacy is important to you, a lot far from businesses and other homes will provide the quiet you're looking for.
2. Land Size
A large lot keeps life at home private, while a small lot is easier to maintain. Big lots need more mowing, landscaping and care. Small lots mean close neighbors, for better or worse. In some cases, lot size is also proportional to lot price. If you're undecided about lot size, view both large and small lots before making your decision.
3. Raw Vs. Developed Land
Raw land is land that has no utilities in place, while developed land has the infrastructure (access to electrical grid, sewer, etc) in place for home construction. Raw land is often less expensive, but when trying to decide whether to buy raw or developed land, it's important to consider the cost of installing utilities, and how this might affect the home building timeline.
4. Land Inspection Report
Just as you can get an inspection for an existing home before making a purchase, you can also get an inspection of the land you're thinking about buying. After looking at the lot, the inspector will submit a report. Examples of what inspectors look for include pollution, noise, soil quality and more.
Have a budget in mind, so you can look for land that falls in your price range. Keep in mind that you may need to pay for the land in cash. Vacant lots lack leverage, which puts lenders in a difficult position if the buyer defaults. Loans are available for vacant land, but can be difficult to obtain - even with good credit. Shop around if you need to borrow money for your purchase.
Is a view important to you? As you're shopping for land, consider where you would position the house for the best view possible. You may pay a high price for a good view, but remember that this will help drive up the value of your property and may make it easier to sell if you ever want to.
Building on a hill can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your priorities. Hilly properties can be hard to walk on and more difficult to maintain. On the other hand, a good hill can provide a good view and more privacy. Know which one is more important to you before shopping for a lot.
Some communities are more expensive than others. Know the property tax rate for the community where you're building, and make sure that you're factoring this into your home building budget.
9. Soil Type
Is gardening important to you? Clay soils trap moisture in the ground and can leave your plants and flowers waterlogged. Clay soils are also more susceptible to moisture fluctuation, which can lead to structural damage and foundation troubles. You can find out the soil type of any lot you're considering by sending a soil sample to a lab for evaluation.
10. Internet Access and Cell Service
Are you able to get cell service at the lot where you're thinking about buying? If not, what carriers do get cell service in that area? Is Internet access available? Find out this information, as it will affect your future utility costs.
11. Sewage Services, Drinking Water
If sewer service is not available, the house may need to have a septic tank installed. Likewise, if no access to public drinking water is available, you may need to dig a well, which can be very costly. If you don't find water on the first dig, the contractor will charge you for each additional hole dug until you strike water.
12. Flood Zone Information
Know the risk of flood in the area. While this is especially important if there is a body of water nearby, it's important to check even if you think there is little risk. Rivers can swell and some lots have poor drainage. Knowing the risk in advance will help you determine whether you'll need to pay extra to have your land insured against risk of flood.
13. Can You Use the Lot As You Intend?
Zoning and land use laws play a big role in what can and can't be built on a lot once it's been purchased. Before buying the parcel you want, check the local zoning and land use laws that apply to that lot. Inquire with the seller, but do your homework. Verify information with the local city hall or zoning office.
14. Work With a Professional Real Estate Agent
Don't underestimate the importance of finding the right piece of land. A good lot can help ensure years of happiness at your future home. Finding the right lot can be a challenge, because there are so many factors to consider. That's why Sugar Creek Homes provides realty services for clients seeking land. Our real estate agent, Tim Burke, has years of experience helping clients identify land to meet their unique needs.
Building a custom home can be a process for sure, but working with the experts can make your home building experience a success. Sugar Creek Homes is a full-service professional home building company for buyers in Madison WI and the surrounding area. From house plans to realty services, we provide support from beginning to end, to keep the process moving. Call today to make an appointment for a consultation.