Building a custom home is hard work that is rewarded when you move into the home of your dreams. The first step is finding the perfect lot to build on. Before you purchase a lot to build on, be aware of these dos and don’ts.
Do work with an agent to find the land. Your real estate agent can help to research the property and make sure that you are making a safe investment. Buying vacant land is different than buying a home; work with an agent who knows what questions to ask and who knows how to negotiate on your behalf.
Do have your finances in order. You will need to have a PreApproval Letter or Proof of Funds for the purchase amount, so make sure you understand what you can afford to spend on your lot.
Do find out what utilities service the area. If you are looking outside of a developed area, you need to know what utility services are available, or if any infrastructure needs to be added.
Do ask what the taxes have been on the lot. Your real estate agent should be able to find this out for you.
Do price the neighborhood. Your agent can help you with a market analysis of the surrounding homes. You don’t want your home and land cost to be vastly higher than the rest of the neighborhood.
Don’t expect to finance your lot. Lenders often don’t lend money for vacant land, and if they do, they may only lend up to half the land value. This is why it’s so important to talk to your financial advisors before you start looking.
Don’t skip the soil tests. If you will have a septic sewer system, you will need a percolation test to make sure the property is fit for a septic tank.
Don’t forget to get a survey done. Before you purchase the lot, ask to see a recent survey or have one done to validate property lines and make sure other neighbors aren’t already encroaching on the lot with access roads, fencing, or structures.
Don’t assume you can have property rezoned. Make sure you know the property zoning regulations for the property. If you are in a rural area and plan to have chickens or horses, make sure that is permitted. Be wary of sellers who tell you that you can subdivide the land or build two homes on one lot, as this may not be the case.
Don’t rely on a drive-by. You need to walk the property, no matter the size or your plans for its use. If you are buying multiple acres, don’t assume that the topography is consistent throughout with no hidden problems. Things to check for include flood-prone areas, environmentally protected-animal dwellings, trash deposits and neighbors that are involved in activities that may affect your enjoyment of the property, such as dog kennels or shooting ranges.
If you have more questions or if you’re ready to purchase property, call me! I’d love to help you out.