Finding a lot to begin building a new home on can be an adventure. Properties suitable for a home site are plentiful, so luckily buyers have no shortage of possibilities. Make no mistake though; finding a lot where construction can begin on that new home has its share of twists and turns. Provided they've come up with a realistic budget, prospective buyers must be strong. They cannot be swayed by beautiful views and charming neighbors. Keep a list of all the necessary questions before even looking at the land in person to avoid an emotional connection. This mission is about finding the best place to build that new home so the mind must rule over the heart… for now.
Location, location, location…
You are actually choosing where you will sink a large chunk of change into as well as a large chunk of time so choose wisely. Start with the easy stuff. Where do you want to live? If the city is known, get more specific. Are there new home communities that look like the perfect vision of home? What school districts are preferable? Even if it seems like school isn't a concern right now, school districts can impact resale value of properties, so think long-term. How close or how far do you want to be from your family and friends? Work? Church? Favorite shops? If you're planning on finding a lot with a view of a particular place, know that some premium parcels come with issues. Land may be steep or uneven and cause higher building costs for modifying the land with additional dirt, grading or clearing to ensure safety. Only start building a new home where you can live the life you desire.
Break out the fedora and trenchcoat
Finding a lot can be easier once the major location issues have been addressed but next comes the tricky part- investigating. Is there an international airport near by or more importantly, does the lot you're looking at sit below a direct flight path? Is the home site next to an air force base? A railroad? A major freeway? None of these issues may alarm some buyers who don't mind the noise but in general, these signs are red flags. How about landfills and jails? These places tend to not make the top neighbor lists. If you have your heart set on that waterfront lot, inquire about its flood zone status. In some areas in Hampton Roads, some homes are required to be built on pilings to avoid damage to properties and this often results in higher construction costs.
Know what you're dealing with
Before even thinking about building a new home, lot owners must be up to snuff on the rules and regulations that come with their piece of land. Real estate is different all over the world and it may take a bit of time to digest what you are buying. Before purchasing that home site, find out what the taxes are. City taxes tend to be higher than rural taxes so know exactly what you're getting for those tax dollars. Tip- this is a nonnegotiable item so be sure you're willing to pay before buying the lot. Ask about deed restrictions and easements. Sure, a lakeside lot is a choice piece of real estate but what if it's landlocked and nobody can get in or out of that property without an easement? No thank you.
No white picket fence?
If you're looking into new home communities, get very familiar with their restrictive covenants. These sets of rules are usually written to maintain a consistent look of the homes -no purple shutters and such. Rules can be very lenient; like stating that only one home can be built per lot and what type of fencing can be used. Or the rules can get much more detailed and limiting, forbidding certain pets, play sets, trash cans within view, garages without side entrances, recreational vehicles and much more. These documents require serious consideration. Ask your real estate agent, builder or new home community representative for a copy of the covenants to give it a thorough review. Finding a lot in a super restrictive development may not be the perfect situation after all.
Get the lay of the land
The overall size of the land should factor into finding a lot. Buyers should have a general idea of what size home they want and what size yard they want. Anything over or under those parameters can get immediately scratched off the ticket. Consider how much time and maintenance you'll want to devote to this piece of land. Building a new home on a three-acre parcel may sound lovely to a couple with three teenage children but not to a retired couple who travel extensively. Keep in mind the particular shape of the lot. If the home site is large then this will not matter so much but land less than half an acre or less, become aware. Imagine how building a new home will compliment this lot. Is the design compatible with the land? Are you alright with little front yard and a huge backyard if you get that cul-de-sac lot?
Finding a lot you've always wanted for the home of your dreams can be done by staying on course. Remain on budget, keep those questions coming and be your own land detective. A home site is just not right until it's had your seal of approval so get searching through Virginia properties. Don't get discouraged; this experience can be a lot of fun!