Finding Land to Build Your House: 5 questions to ask

    It's easy to fall in love with the notion of having your own piece of land where you can build your custom home. It takes a lot more work to sort out what piece of land will work best for your dream home.

    There are a few questions that will help you narrow your land search to pieces of property that are ready for a house. If you're willing to nitpick to find these plots, you'll save thousands during construction.

    Here are some questions that you can use to make sure that you're focused on land that's easy to build on.

    1. Does the property have utilities available?

    Electricity, water, gas and sewer are all essential utilities for your home. But it might be difficult to access those utilities from some properties. At the very least, a property should have access to electricity. A well could be drilled and a septic system installed. If the property is near a town, city water and sewer might be available.

    Regardless, you may have to pay for any or all of these utilities to be brought to the property. That should be taken into consideration when you're shopping for land.

    2. How is the site zoned?

    If you didn't know any better, you might set your heart on a piece of land that turns out to be zoned for commercial buildings. Getting a piece of land re-zoned is a lengthy and difficult process, and not worth it if you could find residential land just as suitable for your needs. The zoning department of the city or county where the land is located should be able to give you this information.

    3. Is the land on a flood plain?

    While it sounds frightening and bad, owning land that is on a flood plain isn't necessarily a bad thing. What you'll need to find out is whether or not the portion of the land that you're going to build your home on is in a flood plain. If so, this could cause a host of other issues. In this case, too, the city or county zoning department will be able to give you the information that you need.

    Download 5 Steps to Buying Land

    4. Is the site prepared for construction?

    In order for you to build a home on a piece of land, it has to be suitable for construction. There are a number of things that could need to be adjusted by a builder. The slope of the land, trees on the land, utilities and egress all determine how simple construction will be. And changing all of those things costs thousands of dollars. Choosing a site that's better prepared for construction could save you thousands.

    5. Are there potential survey problems?

    If you plan on buying a piece of land, you'll need a survey to mark the property boundaries. Problems often surface during the survey process. Perhaps one of the neighbors has built something that encroaches on the land. An easement could reduce the usable portion of the land.

    A builder could help you make sure that the land is free of anything that might hinder you in the survey process.

    We can guide you through the process

    Finding, financing, and buying land is a whole process in itself, and it can be tricky and scary.  Prepare yourself to avoid the big mistakes by reading our guide to finding land and figuring out whether it's good to build on.

    Buying land is just one step of the process of turning that raw land into your forever home. For a more in-depth look into the process, download our free guide, From Raw Land to Forever Home.

    Download Guide to Build Your Forever Home

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