purchased or own your land or property? There’s still some great
insights and info here!
is a list of 17 major areas that you should consider using as
a checklist when searching for, or buying, lots or acreage -
almost every point can have a significant impact on your building
project's final cost, value and your personal comfort. Please,
send us a note and tell us if you find this article useful,
Codes, Permits...Find out all you can about the local
and regional building codes, permit processes, etc. Some areas
make it a living nightmare for potential home building projects
to get started or completed, and it's better to know what
you're getting into BEFORE you purchase (if possible).
site prep costs... Site prep can be a snap and minimal
expense or it can double the cost of your property and building
project! Determine what will be required for utilities such
as telephone, gas or electric to reach your building site.
What about water and sewage disposal? Will you need a well?
How deep and how much? What about a septic tank? Will there
be a need for an expensive filtering system? Are there a lot
of trees? If so, do you have to conform to any special environmental
regulations in removing them? Can you sell them to a sawmill
or lumber company in exchange for removal/clearing costs or
even a profit? Are there hidden rocks or boulders that will
stop you when trying to build, or install amenities such as
a pool or deck?
costs could be astronomical... What kind of foundation
will you be using? Is concrete readily available, or does
it cost a small fortune to get it into your site?
room to live... As we pointed out, you can get maximum
"bang for your building dollar" by choosing and
building a home design that allows you to build up or build
down rather than outwards. Now is a good time to take advantage
of that principal. Try to find a piece of property that offers
a sloped building site. With the slope, you can just add a
walk-out basement with living space and even a garage. Is
this an important point for building your home? You be the
judge - the Average Starting per-square-foot cost for a walk-out
basement is $10 a square foot!
or other labor availability... Are you going to use contractors
for any of the building process? Are there plenty of them
in your immediate area to select from, and are they readily
available for YOUR projects? Believe me, you haven’t seen
expensive until you’ve had to pay for the labor AND the housing
or living expenses required when bringing in a good crew from
or crisis support... What are the fire, police and other
life support availabilities and/or response times in the area
where you’re building? Aside from the obvious need and advantage
of having access to these critical services, your insurance
rates will be astronomical or non-existent if these services
are poor or non-existent!
You just lost flexibility... What easements for access,
utilities and any other purposes exist? Do you realize that
an easement usually restricts or denies you the ability to
build a pool, storage cabin, outbuilding or even future home
additions on it? If you have a Realtor, insist that they discern
and disclose any easements and the accompanying restrictions.
If you’re on your own, research, investigate, then double
check and be certain you have the answers you need!
whole new world and lost value... Will there be any future
construction by adjacent or nearby lot owners, or by your
city/county that might affect either your view, privacy, OR
home value can you imagine what construction of a power
or pumping station, or possibly a microwave tower could have
on the salability or value of your property?
no space left to live... Review the shape of your lot
or acreage. How will your choice of a home fit on it? Find
out what your approved setbacks are and using these, get some
help plotting your potential home’s footprint on a map of
the chosen building site… Look at the backyard, side yard
and front yard distances from the house to the property lines.
This analysis can also tell you how much space you have for
boats, recreation vehicles or even an RV. Don’t forget that
you also want to see how large a space you’ll have for your
deck, courtyard, patio, or even privacy!
under water... Is the land or property in a low-lying
area? If so, what is the potential for flooding from higher
ground or homes in the future? Even a remote chance of a once-in-a-lifetime
major flood may be too much insurance aside, how do you
get paid enough from insurance to replace precious photographs,
fires... Apply the same criteria as flood potential above
to any potential for forest or other uncontrollable fires.
Remember, once is usually enough to destroy your life’s treasures.
your neighbors' homes... While we’re on the subject, how
will your land or property site drain? Remember, if the property
lies on an elevated area, it is quite possible that you can
be held liable if your lot's grading causes low-lying homes
to flood in heavy rains. You must determine FIRST and early
on where the water goes, how it flows, and how the swails
are arranged to avoid this phenomenon.
land is falling... Does the property have a slope that
needs to be shored up? If so, how does it need to be treated?
Redwood? Concrete blocks? Railroad ties? How high are the
retaining walls required by your local government regulations
(city, county, homeowner’s CCRs)? How much usable yard will
you lose? Get someone to explain slope ratios to you, and
what requirements they will demand you meet.
highway home... What do you know about present or future
traffic flow around your property? How much traffic will
be passing your home site daily, and at what times of the
day? Do you have small children? A corner lot can be treacherous
when cars start whipping around the curve. And, if there is
an existing or future heavy traffic flow, it may dramatically
affect your family’s lifestyle. Ever tried working or reading/relaxing
with a constant hum of car engines, squealing tires and brakes,
fire engine or police sirens? Do you like flowers and other
delicate landscaping? Wait till you see what a constant deluge
of carbon monoxide does to their ability to grow not to
mention the nasty buildup of black exhaust smoke that makes
your home’s siding or paint job look disreputable by the end
of a year.
down the street... What about any driveways or access
roads? You need to review the building site carefully, to
determine how steep your driveway will need to be in relation
to your chosen or necessary building site. If you’re a Cadillac
driver, or you have a lot of visitors, you won’t want the
slope to be too steep it won’t be fun trying to get vehicles
safely into their nest after a bitter snow or ice storm renders
the driveway slippery or accessible only to the most hardy
4 wheel driver!
the sunshine in, or not... What
direction will your home face if placed on the likely building
site? If you have already chosen your home design, then you
can study the home’s floor plan and where the sun rises and
sets in relation to the rooms. Does the direct sun shine on
the front of the house in the mornings or afternoons? If it’s
hot in the summer, the direct sun shining into an area you
don’t use much during the day, such as the bedrooms, could
be a blessing for your comfort OR for the cost of any air
conditioning requirements for daytime high-use areas. Are
you planning a pool? If so, how long, and at what time of
day, will the sun hit the pool location area? Will it be shining
brightly when your family uses it most? Finally, what effect
will the sun’s orientation have on your home’s overall energy
view that can't be seen... Plan ahead for what each of
your key windows will overlook. By knowing ahead of time
the home you want to build, you can choose a lot or acreage
that allows you to take advantage of any available views.
Conversely, if you've already purchased your lot
or acreage, you can identify the building site, then design
your home and window layout accordingly...
this sound overwhelming? Do you feel you might want to avoid
all this and just buy an existing home or villa? Forget it
you should be reviewing almost all of these issues for an
existing home purchase most of the same problems can affect
you! Most people
don’t, and later face expensive decisions and problems when
the difficulties arise.
the time needed to get complete, thorough answers to these questions.
The choices you make may make a huge difference in your own
family's comfort and well-being and affect your future property