Published April 5th, 2018 by Devteam

Right From the Start: Insights Into Building and Remodeling Your Custom Home, Custom Home Building Process

Don’t Buy That Lot! Call Your Builder First

We are back with more insights from, Right From the Start: Insights Into Building & Remodeling Your Custom Home. This week we are discussing the importance of talking with your builder prior to purchasing a lot. A builder can provide you with accurate and informative details that are essential to choosing the correct lot. Read below to learn more!

Part One: Before You Build

Chapter 25: Don’t Buy That Lot! Call Your Builder First

People sometimes call me when they are “almost” ready to talk to a builder. They’ve been looking at lots and have narrowed their choice down to two or three options. As soon as they purchase their land, they want to talk with the builder to discuss the home they want to build on it.

Instead of buying a lot first, we advise people to first talk to a builder. Request a meeting with your builder to look at the lots before you buy one. If you’ve never purchased a lot (and most people haven’t), you could be walking into serious issues that you’re unprepared to handle. Before you buy a lot, there are several things to consider. If you purchase land based primarily on price, you may discover unexpected additional costs and issues later on.

Here are just a few items you need to know:

Fill dirt may be needed that may cost thousands of dollars.

Often it’s necessary (especially on lakefront lots) to do soil testing to ensure that the soils are suitable to hold the home in place.

Testing for the suitability of a septic system (if applicable) may need to be conducted. Often, local health departments will increase their requirements for septic systems. Sometimes they require a mounded septic system and that can be an unexpected additional cost. The homeowners may look at the lots adjacent to theirs and assume that the septic system can be placed below ground, only to find that a raised mound system is now required by the local municipality, and that can be very unsightly in the front yard.

Local zoning requirements may have restrictions regarding the front, side, and rear setbacks that may be more limiting than a buyer realizes.

Some municipalities have lot area coverage ratios. That means restrictions are placed on how large a home you can build on the lot. In some cases, there maybe existing proposals to restrict lot coverage ratios. If you unknowingly have outdated information, you may be designing a home that is too large for your particular lot. You can spend six to twelve months designing a home, only to discover that local municipality restrictions preclude the building of the home you just designed, and that may mean thousands of dollars of expenses and many months of wasted effort.

Of course, this is just a short list of issues to consider before you buy a lot. I suggest you meet with an experienced, professional builder before you sign on the dotted line to purchase your lot. Obtaining current, accurate information allows you to make an informed buying decision.

Bottom Line

Talk to your builder first; buy the lot second.

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