Step Three: Land Evaluation or Selecting your Home Site
Site Harmony! Your land and your home should work together to create what is known as Site Harmony. As your builder, it is one of our objectives.
At Scott Homes, Ltd., we will be happy to assist you in analyzing the costs associated with building a home on a site, either before you have purchased it or after.
How to Find Land
An easy way to shop for current land for sale in the area is to visit with Debbie Howes with RE/MAX Performance. She knows the inventory and can help you find the right lot. You may also contact us to disucss your specific house needs and lot needs to make sure they work together. Another source, less often thought of, is simply driving around the area you would like to live. Often, there will be a for sale sign in front of a property. That could turn out to be a great opportunity also.
To learn about purchasing land, please read the additional information and know that Scott Homes, Ltd., is here to help.
1. Ask us to help you evaluate the costs of building a home on the site. Is the land even “buildable”? Professional advice can help you avoid costly mistakes, save money and make informed decisions.
2. Is the land suitable for the type of home you would like to build? For example, if you would like a home with a walkout basement, you should select land with a hill that falls away from the front of the home for a front to back walk-out or side to side to obtain a side walk-out plan. If you’ve already selected a home plan, try to visualize it on the site. It can be expensive to force fit a plan onto a lot.
3. Does the land contain any wetlands? If so, you may need special permits to build on it or you may need to observe certain set back requirements when placing your home on the site. Confirm that the property IS NOT in a Flood Zone, a Designated Wetland or a riparian area.
4. What is the soil type? Light, sandy or granular soils will give you the best drainage, and are much easier and less costly for septic systems, excavation and landscaping work. Heavy soils, such as clay, cost more when building. Also visible or hidden rock can impact the budget as well. This is good information to know when you are evaluating the costs of one or more sites.
5. Does the land have access to municipal water and sewer? If the home site requires a well and septic system, DO NOT purchase the land without having the site evaluated. That can be performed by an engineer or by the county health department. We recommend that this evaluation be requested by you, not the seller. If the seller has an existing evaluation, confirm the content of the evaluation with the health department or the engineer preparing the report. The health department will ultimately approve a site plan for location of the well and septic before a building permit can be granted.. A well driller can give you information on average well depths in the area and an engineer will ultimately design the septic system to meet the need of your house. Once the evaluation is received, speak to a professional that understands the costs to install the well and septic system. A well and septic system are very common and both will perform properly. Yet, their installation costs can very with the depth of the well and the soil condition or percolation rate of the property.
6. Are you aware of the setback requirements required by local zoning? This is the distance your home must be “set back” from the front, sides and rear of your property lines. Is there enough room on the lot to build and place your home as you would like it? This is especially important if you are considering a smaller site. If you get very close to the minimum setback the Building Department may require a survey. If you are building a home in a subdivision, with smaller lots, you should spend the extra money ($500 or so) to have a surveyor stake your home on the site. This is more than the four corners of the site (see #8 below) this is the actual house plan. The surveyor will determine if your home fits and is within all setback requirements and easements. If you are building on acreage this step may not be necessary because the site is very large but anytime you are have the site surveyed. There are many stories out there about homes not being built in the proper location on a site. Spend the up front money. It is good and cheap insurance.
7. Surrounding zoning. Know what the property around your home site is zoned. Drive around look at the other homes in the area. See what exists and/or could be built near your home.
8. Have the property verified or if they are missing have the site surveyed. The paper copy of the survey will show all property corners and define the location of all easements on the property. A surveyor should visit the site and place stakes on all corners of the property.
9. Are you aware of any deed restrictions or developer requirements? Ask the seller to provide copies of this documentation. Things like Covenants, Deed Restrictions or Design Guidelines. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that your home is built in compliance with all restrictions and requirements. Your builder will assist you.
10. Is the property wooded or an open area? Open areas are typically less costly for building a home. A wooded home site, while preferred by many homeowners, is typically more costly when you consider the fact that you will have to remove some of the trees in order to fit your home.
We often tell people, you can over analyze the purchase of land. Once you understand the details of the property, it is OK to simply breath a sigh and say: “I really like it here.”
Dream and live your dream! If you have any questions regarding land, please feel free contact us with all your questions.