What You Need To Know Before Buying Property
All types of people are interested in building their dream home. For those who don’t have the patience to read a lengthy article. We’ve put the summary at the top. If something piques your interest check it out below.
Things To Look For In City Lots:
- The cost of your lot is proportional to the cost of your home
- How best to maximize your design features with a more restrictive lot
- Permit cost and timeline in cities can be much more expensive and take longer than in rural areas
Things To Look For In Rural Lots:
- Realistic site development costs (excavation, soil conditions, services, etc)
- Designing/ selecting a home that will meet your lifestyle
- Placement of home and services to keep the costs as low as possible
There are many different things that you need to know before you buy a new property. Your land will have a large impact on what can be built, as well as the development costs and construction costs when you prepare to start your project.
Often, land is purchased based on lifestyle, personal preference or aesthetic. The property could have a spectacular view, the location may be remote and private on an island or lake, or you purchased on a city lot in order to be close to your work and community.
Your dream lifestyle plays an important role in finding the right property, but before you buy, there are several practical factors that affect costs. You may run into hidden setbacks and unexpected costs due to unforeseen, underlying characteristics of your lot.Here are the key things to keep in mind before you buy property:
Location Of Lot
Your location impacts the cost and availability of building resources. Depending on where you want to build, you will have different costs for a variety of reasons. If you are buying a city lot, you will typically have services and utilities already available – their costs will have been added to the purchase price.
If you are building on a more remote lot, you will need to know the costs of site development, including services/utilities etc. On rural lots, site development costs are the hardest to estimate, the most unforeseen and one of the locations that people often go over budget.
It is very appealing to build in rural or remote locations. Many enjoy the privacy of a remote property, especially if the eventual home is recreational, like a family cabin. But it is in these instances where you have to be the most careful.
Before you buy, ask yourself if there are sufficient roads and infrastructure that make it easy to access. If you can only access your land by boat or plane, factor that in to the costs of shipping materials to your location, as well as the costs of hiring builders and workers to the location to build your home. Linwood has designed housing plans for those who built on remote properties. Learn more about building off the grid with Linwood.
Size And Shape Of Lot
There is a perfect home design for every lot. However, many buyers will try to force their ideal concept design onto the property. The key to this is understanding what the ideal building envelope will be on the property and then pairing that with whatever attracted the customer to the initial design.
If you are starting to picture your dream home, think about the key features you want to see before falling in love with a design that might not be optimal for your site. With this approach you’ll be able to save money by designing the home to your land as opposed to adding unnecessary site development costs.
Setbacks can vary based on area and they are not always consistent. However, they are the defining features of where you can build on your property. Setbacks can make it harder to get the view that you fell in love with when buying the lot.
For example: The area that you wanted to build on, with the best view may have building constraints. This doesn’t mean that you cannot get your dream home on the property, it simply means that together, we need to get creative, with how to maximize the natural elements of your lot. This is why we do Site-Specific Design.
It’s best to have a professional come to survey the land before you buy it. With our experience we work with you to identify all the site challenges before you begin building your dream home.
Examples Of Setbacks
Cliffs or overhangs, loose gravel or soil on a harsh slope, a history of landslides in the area, a history of earthquakes, proximity to rivers and lakes and corresponding water levels, soil texture and richness, areas where water collects on the property, old or rotting trees.
The best way to avoid purchasing a property with natural hazards is to have environmental tests performed before you buy. It may cost slightly more but it will end up saving money in the long run. It’s best to know that your property is safe when you are planning to build a custom home.
Slope And Soil Conditions
Often, buyers looking for land dislike sloped lots, as they assumethat it will add a substantial amount of excavation costs. This is true with lots that have very steeps slopes as they may require retaining walls. However, the slope can be used to your advantage. A walk out basement is a great solution to a sloped lot. It adds more square footage to the home at about 60% of the cost of the normal living space.
Understanding soil conditions is really only important in assessing foundation types. Rock is the most difficult to build on as it requires blasting, though sometimes you can avoid this by building pier foundations.
On Site Services (Power + Water + Septic)
It’s important to understand what utilities your site is starting with. For city lots, power, water and septic are almost always covered. In a remote situation – this is typically not the case.
It adds complexity as you now, not only have to find the right place to put your home, but also where to put your services on the site. It is also important to design the home based on the location of the services as it will save money and bringing pipes/drains etc. into the home. You don’t want the pipes to your laundry room having to run through the entire home.
If your lot is missing services it doesn’t mean that it is impossible to build on. It just means you have to plan ahead and expect more site development costs.
View Corridor And Exposure To Light
This is the reason people fall in love with their lot! If you are trying to maximize a view you have to be cognizant of the other factors discussed above. It all comes down to Site Specific Design!
Site Preparation Needed
Another often overlooked site development cost is demolition and/or site clearance. Many properties require preparation before a build project. You may need to clear the land by removing trees or boulders.
There may be an existing structure on the lot that needs to be demolished before a new home can be built. It’s important to factor the costs of site preparation in when you are choosing the right lot for your eventual dream home.
The Linwood Secret To Building Anywhere
Over our past 50 years in the custom home building industry, we have encountered just about every type of challenging site. We’ve built on remote islands, peat bogs, cliffs, lakes… you get the picture. It is the mistakes that we have seen that allow us to be so good at Site Specific Design. No matter where your property is located, we’ll understand its LandDNA and find the design that fits your dreams.
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