I feel like I should go over some things you should consider first when purchasing vacant land. Take ALL things into consideration; location (the only thing you are unable to change), neighborhood, price, land developing requirements (i.e. does it need a well, is there water you can hook up to, is gas available if you want it or will you need a propane tank, fire hydrant nearby, water pressure, setbacks, etc.) Is it a dirt road or paved? Where will your driveway go, will it be paved? Are there wetlands on or near the property, is there a slope which may require a geo-tech, how much brush needs to be hauled away, is there marketable timber? Are you near the water? There are lots of variances with land and these can play a big role in price, time and your ultimate goal!
Septic tanks and drain fields take up a lot of space, remember when I mentioned how we had to have a perc test and didn’t have great soil? There was really only one good spot we could put our septic/drain field. Since they have to be so far and close to the house it limits where your house can go. When looking at property, most of the time, you will have a grand vision (if you can see past all the trees and brush) of what your home, yard, etc. will look like. During the feasibility process, a call to the county and conversation with professionals will help determine some of these things. If you cannot build your home where you want, you may not want to move forward. Not to say that there are not ways to work around these things, but research will help clear up some of these questions. Don’t underestimate what can also change after you start clearing the property!
Sprinkler systems are required more often now when building… There may be ways to avoid them, but I feel like the county will do what they can to make you have one. If you absolutely do not want one, you may have to battle with the county (hint, they usually always win) Some things that may help besides building materials is location of fire hydrant, if you are able to put in a fire hydrant (we were quoted $50,000) you should talk with the water co., hills, width of your road, (15 ft wide) turnarounds, etc. I add this in as you should leave room in your budget for a sprinkler system.
Once you have done the digging (figuratively for now;) to determine if the property is the best fit, you can move onto actually buying it. Buying property can be scary, can get a little tricky and timely if buying with a construction loan. My biggest piece of advice right now is to have cash on hand, if possible! I feel like it is a catch 22 since you can’t draw any funds from your construction loan until you have permits but permits and all the site work can be costly. I know this can all seem overwhelming but building, I’m finding out is a step-by-step process. It does get easier, I promise!
There are a lot of different scenarios that can affect your build. It is always important to work with professionals to determine if the land will be a good fit.
This is our personal experience of building and we hope to share some helpful tips of things we learned along the way. Everyone’s story is different, this is ours!