Buying a building lot can be an educational experience. You have heard the term, “Location, location, location.” Usually you will have to pay more to live in a nice area. However, the value of your home will be much greater. Skimping on lot is generally not a good deal. Another aspect to buying a lot is to know that if the lot requires much retaining then you are in for a shock. Retaining and transporting soil is very expensive. There is a home in my neighborhood that is being built. I talked with the general contractor about how much money he must have spent to retain and haul material. He said, “well over $100,000.” Ouch, I'll bet the people never expected that kind of cost.
Part of the costs can be reduced if you will get a bid to retain and haul the excess soil before you start building. If you wait until the foundation is in, it is more difficult, and costly, for the heavy equipment to operate. Also you will be able to set the elevation of your home, on the correct level.Many homes have steep driveways that really didn't have to be, if only they would have removed some excess soil first.
Now obviously it is most cost effective if you find a flat lot where you won't need any soil, or need to take any out. I just want you to consider that when choosing a building lot. A bargain lot is not much of a bargain if you have to spend more money in hauling and retaining soil, than you paid for the lot itself.