Once you have begun the journey to build your dream home and you have gone through all the lifestyle issues as discussed in our blog post entitled, “12 Must Ask House Plan Questions to Answer Before You Buy,” there are other things to think about prior to purchasing the building lot. Again, it is essential to know what the weather is like and determine the natural landscape of the areas you like best Factors that come into play include the weather and natural landscape of the area you like best, your preference to architectural style, and of course, the size of your new home and the layout of the floor plan.
Depending on where you live, there are a number of options for finding a residential building lot. In most suburban areas, developers offer buildable lots for sale in communities. These lots are usually prepped for home construction –the land has been cleared, there are established utility hook-ups, and usually there is a more streamlined permitting process. In other regions, classified ads are often the primary source to find home building lots. For a fee, brokers and real estate agents can also help you find home building lot.
Do you want a flat or a sloping lot? One thing to know is that sometimes it is difficult to find a home plan to fit a sloped lot. The hillside home has advantages including a great view one disadvantage is the, the cost of the lots are usually more, and when the ground is not flat, or there is a stream (Left) it is more costly to build.
Other livability issues can be of concern, such as the fact that slopes might dangerous if you have children, and sloped driveways and parking can be a challenge. When it comes to the investment you selling your home will be lucrative. Bench property homes sell for more, but can take longer to sell.
Often there are some stumbling blocks or building code restrictions limiting the precise location on the lot space upon which the actual house construction can take place. Therefore, check with local building department prior to purchase to determine what restrictions might be in place for the lot.
Specify Your Home Plan Specs and Choose House Plan Blueprints
Now that you have your home style in mind, this is the most important part of the process. How many rooms and square footage do you want? What about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms? Will there be an attached garage and if so how many garage bays? Is the building lot large enough for the house plan that you will want? If your chosen house plan necessitates a particular side or location for a driveway or garage you will need to determine the space you required for clearance, the turning space and you’ll also need to allow for some space on one of the sides.
An easement grants the rights to people other than you as the owner of the property to access and or use the property. Sometimes an easement is considered public or private. A public easement grants the right to the public or a large group of individuals – e.g. an easement on a public streets or highway.
Private easements are is limited to an individual such as the owner of an adjoining property.
Prior to purchasing a property or lot, check with the local zoning laws to determine if there are any easements or restrictions.
Easements might include:
Driveway easements (or easement of access.)
Electrical power easements.
Storm drain easements.
Sanitary sewer easements.
*A restrictive easement is when a condition is placed on the land by the government or property owner that limits its use in some way. (e.g. types of structures to be built, what may be done with the ground itself, or to prevent land from being destroyed.)
If the zoning of a lot has easement restrictions it may limit or restrict which areas of the property can be built and can confine and limit the construction of your new home to a specific size and dimension as well as portion of the lot space.
Check the direction the sun rises and sets. Will trees block the sunlight? You may prefer watching the sun set from your back patio, as opposed to from your bedroom window. A southern exposure makes that side the ideal spot for growing plants and flowers. Whatever is facing the north side of the property means it will be in the shadows, so maybe the garage is best placed there.
Other things to think about include whether or not the lot could flood? It is important to check the drains around the property and also nearby after a heavy rain. Make sure the lot is not in a floodplain. If there is a heavy flow of water during a rainstorm or standing water afterwards, this could lead to problems down the road, such as a flooded basement. Be aware of lots near streams, creeks or rivers –anytime there is a chance for an overflow means your property could flood. If you are serious about a lot, you might want to consult with a landscape architect to discuss your concerns. Check with the developer or local zoning board for their requirements before you purchase the lot.
Once you have selected a house plan and a building lot, it is a good idea to speak with several contractors or home builders in your area. Do a background check on each of the contractors you locate by looking at reviews online, and check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or any state licensing agencies. Based upon the building lot and any personal preferences you may have, ask for each home builder to provide you with an estimate. Get a list of houses the builder has constructed recently in your area and go see the work in person. Remember once you have identified your home builder, you will be working with this person for the next four to nine months. Make sure to draft a comprehensive contract to avoid misunderstandings and to keep your house building project on time and within budget.