Thinking of building a New Home?
Finding a lot and building a home can be a daunting task. Some would ask which comes first, chicken or the egg, meaning finding the builder or finding a lot.
Some things to consider; if you have a builder that you trust and that will build in the area you are searching for land, then I'd say your set. However, some builders only have expertise in certain areas. In particular, if you were wanting a basement or a home on stilts, not all builders can do all things. Some builders are only developing their own lots or won't travel too far out of a particular area.
Below is a comprehensive outline of finding the perfect lot.
First, decide what area you are looking for and how much money you are willing to spend on the lot by defining budget and determining what it will cost to build your home. It’s not always easy to find a lot that suits your needs and fits your price range, but there are some great methods for achieving this. Read on to find out more.
Check out the less desirable lots
The perfect lots are always going to cost more than you’d like to spend, which is a good reason you may want to consider going for the less desirable ones. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it isn't. Some lots that may be considered too narrow or unlevel won’t sell so easily, so they will naturally cost less. If you have the right builder or contractor, the problem lot won't be much of a problem. Look into hillside lots, fill-in locations, or oddly-shaped lots. Clever thinking and ideas can change a less desirable lot into a unique and preferable property.
Looking for a lot with water access
Everyone wants a house on the beach, but these kinds of lots can cost a fortune, and you always run the risk of being at the mercy of weather damage. Try looking for property near a lake, river or creek. These are locations that are more affordable and safer investments. At the same time, you still have the convenience of building a home near the water.
Go for the combo deal
Getting the right lot can be difficult, especially when the owner offers a huge chunk of land at a high price. You may only need a small section of that land and unfortunately, many property owners aren’t keen on dividing up what they have to offer, as this knocks down the value of what they have left. A creative solution is to find an investor, a close friend, or relative to share in the investment and then divide the lot. Check with local municipalities for any parcel restrictions or building guidelines.
Be aware of site preparation
When looking at potential lots, not all lots are created equal, having city sewer and water already at the property is a lot less expensive than installing a sewage system and drilling a well, especially in our cities here in Maryland. Also, be aware of natural obstacles and challenges to the construction. This could be anything from trees, boulders, ditches, mounds and drainage. In our neck of the woods perc tests, critical areas, or conservation areas. Think about hauling in dirt and doing extra grading. Always consider if a lot will take too much site preparation. The more prep that needs to be done, the more costs you’ll incur before you even get to the building phases.
If you find a lot you like, which needs a reasonable amount of site preparation, carefully consider a plan of action to get everything ready in time for building. If not planned ahead, site preparation can slow down and drag out a construction project, causing huge increases in costs. You don’t want to run into these avoidable consequences. Plan ahead as much as possible.
This is where having a building plan for a potential home would be handy. Having the blueprint would outline if the lot will fit your needs prior to the purchase.
Check out the neighborhood
If you want your future house to gain or retain its resale value, be aware of where that house will be situated. Look at the houses around it. A big McMansion surrounded by much smaller properties won’t get a fair resale price. Context is very important.
Neighborhood qualities should always be considered. What’s the community like? What are the income levels and crime rates?
Houses, no matter how lavish and amenity-filled, simply won’t be as attractive as similar properties located in safer communities. So, don’t get so hung up on the lot, itself. What’s around the lot can be even more important.
A lot could be considered the most essential step in the home building process. After all, it’s where it all begins. Because of this, don’t rush into buying a lot; look at all the options, and then some.
A good philosophy is to organize your priorities. Think about what you absolutely require in a property and what aspects may be open to variation and flexibility. Different lots will likely have their own pros and cons, so be willing to practice some pragmatism and creativity. The more thorough you are in your search and the more thoughtful you are in your approach, the more successful your homebuilding venture will be from the very outset.
Finding a builder is another challenge to overcome.
Need a builder?
Below are some suggestions for finding your perfect builder.
Word of mouth is always a great identifier in finding a reputable builder, especially someone that has lived in their home for more than a year. When you first move in we have stars in our eyes and haven't had the opportunities to discover some shortcuts or inequities of our own builders. It is not all in the look of a home and the finishings.
Open houses are another idea to get a feel for their work, listen and look at the construction and attention to detail, if attention to detail isn't given to a spec home, you can't expect much attention to detail in a home you've already agreed to purchase.
Realtors, if you are working with a realtor to buy a lot, they have knowledge of the area and builders alike. Realtors and agents are great sources for information, and they would be happy to share.
In the state of Maryland all builders must be registered with the Consumer Protection Division before they can enter into a contract with a consumer for the construction or sale of a new home.
There is lots of other helpful information in regards to builders such as; seeing if they are registered, builders performance standards, and how to file a complaint. For more information follow this link to maryland.gov
Follow this link to see if your builder is registered, or to find builders for the city or town where you hope to find a lot at https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/CPD/Homebuilder/default.aspx
Consumer Protection Division
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 576-6573/ Toll Free: (877) 259-4525
Fax:(410) 576-6566/ Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you have found the perfect builder, ask him to supply several past clients of homes he has built in recent years and make sure that they have been in their homes for more than 12 months.
Best of luck in finding your dream home and as always, if you need a realtor, I am ready and willing to help you along in your journey. Feel free to share this with anyone that is looking in our area.