So many times we meet with a client who has already purchased the land they want to build their dream home on. There is nothing worse than watching their faces go from excitement and anticipation to disappointment and despair while you explain what it will cost to overcome the hidden difficulties with their purchased land.
During a thorough land evaluation, a responsible builder will do the following:
- visit the property, with the client, to walk the land and discuss where you would like to place the house
- evaluate the topography and give suggestions on where the best place to site the house may be
- make recommendations if the lot suits a walkout basement
- research what utilities are available at the property including electric, gas, water and sanitary sewer
- provide cost estimates for any utility expensessometimes the utilities are on the opposite side of the street and may require significant expense to bring them under the roadway to your property
- consult with well and septic contractors to provide estimates on the costs of the well and septic systems if the home is to be served by a drilled water well or septic system
- coordinate soils tests for the suitability of the various types of septic systems
- consult with local government agencies about zoning restrictions and potential use limitations for the property
- make sure the lot is large enough to accommodate your home
- search for any deed restrictions on the property
- check for wetlands, flood plains and stream riparian setbacks
The distance you want your dream home to be off of the street can have a significant effect on the cost. Driveways can be very expensive, and in addition to a large driveway costs, the farther the home is off the street, the longer and more heavy-duty utility lines need to be to avoid power loss. All of these items can add significant costs to a project.
As builders, we are constantly looking at land for clients. Many times the builder may have invaluable knowledge of the land you are looking at already. For example, in Concord Township right now there are bank-owned lots for sale that are not buildable. There are so many wetlands on the lots that a house cannot be build. Yet, the bank still offers them for sale. They are for sale for less than a normal lot cost in the area, so it is just a matter of time before a bargain-hunting homeowner buys one without talking to a builder first. This is unfortunate, but can be easily avoided by consulting with an experienced custom home builder first.