What to Look for When Buying Land to Build a House

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If you’re building a home from the ground up, your first task is to secure the perfect plot of land to place it on. While this may seem easy enough, there are many details to consider before making your purchase. Read on to learn the most important items to look for when buying land to build a house.

When you’re ready to design your dream home, the team at The Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design is here to assist you. Contact us today to get started.

Location Considerations

You likely have a general idea of where you’d like to build your home. But once you begin to look at individual pieces of land, you need to carefully consider the specifics of the lot and its immediate surroundings.

For instance, is the land you’re viewing bordered by other vacant lots? In addition, have you noticed significant growth and land development in recent years throughout your town? If yes to either of these questions, you might expect potentially loud, nearby construction to occur shortly after you move into your home. The construction timeline for a new home averages about nine months, which would mean dealing with nine months of noisy equipment at work just nearby. This is certainly something important to consider before pulling the trigger on the lot.

Another point to think about when it comes to the location of the land is whether or not it is on or near a flood plain. Not only could this put your new home at risk if a flood does occur, but flood insurance can be extremely costly depending on your location. When going over your budget, this is a key point that you would need to factor in.

Find a Surveyor & Land Planner

Two important professionals that you’ll need to hire include a surveyor and a land planner. A surveyor’s job is to determine the specific boundaries of the lot. Although these will likely be provided to you by the seller, you need to have a survey done in your name. If there is a boundary dispute or a problem with an easement, you may not be able to move forward in resolving the issue without one that you’ve had done yourself.

It’s also a smart idea to hire a land planner to give you an estimate on the cost of land preparation. They’ll look for any major issues with the lot, and they’ll keep an eye out for other important items that could cost you extra money, such as the absence of utility hookups. Some important utility hookups include:

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Sewage
  • Internet
  • Gas

If these necessary hookups are not present on the land, they could put a large dent in your budget. A land planner is a great resource to utilize to help you find these expenses and stay within your allotted price point.

Know How It’s Zoned

It would be quite a shock to purchase a piece of land only to discover the zoning requirements do not allow residences to be built! A quick check using your city’s online zoning search tool will provide you with the information you need to move forward in buying the lot.

Is There an HOA?

If the lot you’re considering is within a developed community, there may be an HOA. While HOAs are nice in terms of maintenance and community upkeep, note that this will be another additional monthly expense. Plus, if you are going to design a custom home, HOAs sometimes have restrictions regarding the specific size, shape, additions, and colors of your structure, which could inhibit you from getting exactly what you want.

Easements

An easement gives an individual the right to access a portion of a property although they do not possess it. Common reasons you or another person may need to have an easement for the plot of land you are considering include:

  • A person’s property must be crossed to reach a home or other destination
  • A person’s utility line runs across property that they do not own

If you are uneasy about having someone subject to entering your property at any time for the above reasons, finding another option may be a better choice.

Additionally, if your land planner discovers you will need to run utility lines across another person’s property, but the property owner does not approve, you will have to sue for an easement. This can cause a lot of stress and take a lot of time to complete.

Search for a Loan

When it comes down to finances, banks are more likely to lower your borrowing cost if the land is in top-condition for building. If the plot is essentially building-ready, you should be in good shape. But, if the land preparation is quite extensive, you may find yourself with a significantly higher borrowing cost.

Design & Build Your Dream Home

These are some of the most important items to look for when buying land to build a house. Once you’ve secured a lot, the next step is to find an experienced team to help you design the home of your dreams. At The Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design, our team of professional architects and interior designers have the experience and expertise needed to bring your vision to life.

Contact us today to begin creating a home that you’ll love for many years to come.