There is something particularly exciting about the possibility of buying your own piece of land. The raw, untouched property can be the perfect spot for you to build your dream home from the ground up. However, picking the perfect parcel can be a bit more complicated than one would expect. This adventure can be the key to landing the perfect spot for your family to grow. Here are some tips to help you know what is involved before you begin the process:
Get in the Zone
Checking the zoning laws is a critical piece to the land buying process. If you think you’ve uncovered the perfect site for your future dream home, before you put in an offer you will want to check the local zoning ordinances. No matter how wonderful the piece of land may appear, if it doesn’t meet the specifications for your intended use, you will find yourself with a costly piece of property you can’t fully develop.
Property Lines and Setbacks
The term “setbacks” refers to how far from a property line a structure must be situated. If you have 20-foot structure setbacks from either side, but your lot is only 50 feet wide that means your home can be no greater than 10 feet wide. Odds are that wouldn’t work and you would need to reconsider the property.
Play a Numbers Game
You may find an excellent deal on a plot of land, but it is important to keep in mind the actual cost of building a home. There are substantial expenses for preparing the land for construction. It will require permits from the municipality, and health department approval. Once these pieces are in hand the site will need to be cleared, graded and excavated. All of these costs need to be considered in addition to the cost of land, as well as the cost of the home you would like to build. For many the building process is lengthy and time consuming, but the end result is always something magnificent.
Consult a Land Planner
If you want help determining whether a certain lot is perfect for your future home and how much it will ultimately cost, you may want to consult a land planner. Much like home inspectors size up a house for potential flaws, land planners scrutinize the land. These individuals will be able to evaluate the vegetation, wetlands, soil type, water table and much more. It is possible for certain parcels to be inbuildable so it is important to evaluate all potential issues. To find an experienced and reliable land planner, consult a Realtor for a referral.
Focus on Financing
Acquiring a “raw land loan” is much different than getting a loan for a home. Since there is no building on the property yet, it is easier for a buyer to simply walk away, leaving the lender high and dry. Due to that perceived risk, some lenders may require a higher down payment on land. The loan may have different credit score requirements or a different interest rate. You will want to consider all of these differences throughout the process to ensure the smoothest financing possible.
Buying a piece of land and building your perfect haven can be a dream come true for many. The process can be tricky and a bit time consuming, but when navigated correctly the end result is always worth the wait. Consulting one of our experienced professionals is the first step in securing your perfect plot and building your future.
Lawrence M. Lipman is the owner and president of The Lipman Group / Sotheby’s International Realty in Nashville. Real estate is Lawrence’s career, but also his passion, and he takes pride in guiding buyers and sellers through exciting home transitions at any budget. Lawrence welcomes questions and can be reached by calling 615-364-3333.