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Every person dreams of owning their own land someday. However, what most people don’t realize is that finding that perfect spot of land is not as easy as it may seem. Randomly choosing a piece of land to build a home, without prior in-depth research, can cost you the enjoyment of your custom home. This is why there are many considerations that need to be kept in mind when looking for the land to build a custom home. Finding a piece of land that meets most of these considerations can, therefore, be quite a daunting task.

Building A Custom Home  - 11 Things To Consider

Does building a custom home sound intimidating? Well, the fact that it is challenging to find the right spot for building your custom home, does not mean that it is entirely impossible to find the perfect spot. This article will provide you with guidelines on the things that you need to consider before buying land. These considerations, when put in place, will help you find just the right spot for your custom home. Read along!

Items To Consider Before Buying Land

The following are the major things that a person should consider before they buy land on which they intend to build their custom home. It is very important that one considers these factors, so as to avoid any negative surprises and consequences associated with a poor choice of land.

  • Location
  • Property Setbacks
  • Zoning Requirements
  • Natural Hazards
  • Easements
  • Utility Sources
  • Is It “Buildable” Lot
  • Possible Environmental Hazards
  • High Growth Areas
  • Natural Resource Rights
  • Picture Your Neighborhood in 5 to 10 Years

Location

This is the most important factor that should be considered prior to make any land purchases. Locations stand out above every other consideration for buying land to build a custom home. When it comes to the location, a person should consider the municipality. Also, a person should compare the specific location of the land, to the overall community, and choose that which best fits their preference. 

For instance, a person who loves privacy would opt for a slot of land that is located at the end part of a town. Other people would opt for land that is adjacently situated to a busy roadway. It is also important that you choose a location that makes it easy to access basic and social amenities, such as schools, public transport, medical services, recreational centers, and highways. Another thing that you should factor in when it comes to location, is the distance of the land to one’s place of work. 

In summary, a person should choose that particular location that would make life easier for them, by granting quick and easy access to amenities, as well as facilitating quick transit to work and other areas.

Property Setbacks

Property setback refers to the set rules and guidelines that dictate how close to the lot’s border the structure can be built. Before buying a land, you should inquire about the property setbacks of the area. This you can inquire from the local building department, or alternatively, the owners association. 

Property setbacks make a major item to be considered before purchasing land, as they determine things such as where your structure will be built on the lot. They also determine other aspects such as the size of the house’s footprint. Usually, the main idea of building a custom home is to build a home that you determine its size and arrangement. Therefore, you should ensure that the property setbacks accommodate your preferred size and arrangement of the custom home.

Zoning Requirements

In certain areas, there are jurisdictions that set aside (zone) lands for either residential or commercial use, and at times, even both residential and commercial use. A custom home is built for residential purposes. Therefore, before you embark on buying land to build your custom home, it would be wise that you first consider the zoning requirements of the place. Is the land set aside for residential or commercial purposes or both? 

You need to consider this factor, especially where the land’s surroundings are mainly used for commercial purposes. After all, you would not want to risk building your custom home in an area where soon many industry plants will be erected. A person should ensure that the zoning requirements of their slot of land are not different from that of the neighborhood. Otherwise, if the zoning requirements are different, the end result may be unfavorable and uncomfortable living conditions for the owner of the custom home.

Also, you need to determine if the area where your land is located, has been zoned for more structures, for instance, garages, barns, and sheds. This aspect you can consider if you are intending to build them as part of your custom home. Furthermore, some zoning requirements might include set standards on the minimum size of a house that should be built on the pieces of land. This minimum size may prove to be too large for a person. In such cases, a person would rather opt for lots of lands whose zoning requirements of the minimum house size, fits within their means.

Natural Hazards

Some areas are highly prone to natural hazards. If you are considering buying land on which to build a custom home, then you should consider how prone the area is to natural hazards. In the recent past, how many hazards have occurred at the set slot of land? Obviously, you should choose a piece of land that is not vulnerable to natural hazards. 

Natural Hazards
Cleaning up the aftermath of a house fire. This chimney was 3 stories tall and the only item left standing.

Natural hazards include aspects such as fires, which cause huge damages to built structures. You can inquire and find out if the location of the allotted plot of land is within a fire zone. Furthermore, you can have the soil of the piece of land tested, so as to find out the soil quality and composition. Soil quality and composition of a lot of land help in determining how a custom home will be built, the overall costs of the foundation as well as the landscaping that can be done. Considering these aspects will help you to, therefore, determine if the selected piece of land will be ideal for building your custom home. 

Easements

Before you buy a piece of land, you need to find out if there are easements associated with the property. Easements provide other people and entities the right to use your property for certain purposes. These rights may include an allowance for others to cross over your land so as to access other lots. Such like rights can deny you of your privacy, in your very own custom home. To make matters worse, you have no control whatsoever over the set easements. 

Therefore, it is very important that you consider the locations where easements have been placed, so as to avoid inconveniences after building your custom home. You should only build your custom home where the easements are favorable to you. 

Utility Sources

After you build your custom home, there are some basic utilities and social amenities that you will require. These include power, water sources, transport system, gas, sewerage statement, and phone or cable services. Even if you are the sort that prefers to build a custom home in remote areas, these are essential utilities that you will need to ensure are available.

You would, also, do well yo ensure that these utility sources are not only available but are also available at affordable and budget-friendly prices. For instance, the building custom homes in lots of lands that are located in remote areas would mean limited access to municipal utilities. Limited access to municipal utilities, in turn, would mean a financial strain on a person, as access to these utilities would prove to be very expensive. 

Therefore, when buying a plot of land, you need to think about the costs of accessing utilities such as water, electricity, waste, road access, among other necessities. You should also determine if these utility sources are actually available at the location, or you will have to get them yourself. Remember that if you will have to run the utility sources yourself, this can cost you some added expenses, as you set up the projects. Ensuring that your custom home will have the basic utilities will ensure that you live a comfortable life in your custom home.

Is It A ‘Buildable’ Lot

This may sound too obvious, but it’s a factor that could easily go unconsidered when buying land to build a custom home. If a piece of land is to be termed as being ‘buildable’, then the city or state had allowed the slot of land to be built on. Therefore, you should confirm with the government representatives that the land that you intend to buy has been granted permission to be built upon.

Is It A 'Buildable' Lot

More so, if the land is to be termed as being ‘buildable’,  the characteristics of the land must be favorable for the building of a structure. For instance, some plots of land have gentle slopes, or high acreage, which limit the development potential of the structure. Therefore, before you settle on which land to buy, you should ensure that the permits are available and the topography/terrain of the land is favorable.

Possible Environmental Hazards

Some areas of land are prone to environmental hazards. Environmental hazards include leakages caused by storage tanks of fuels or chemicals and contaminated waters or soils. Therefore, a wise move that you could undertake before you buy that piece of land, would be to perform a phase 1 environmental study. Performing this study will, of course, cost you some cash, however, it will be worth it. It will help you ensure that you build on a clean piece of land that won’t contaminate your structure.

High-Growth Areas

Maybe, you intend to build a custom home that you will develop for investment purposes. If that is the case, then you should consider going for slots of land located in high-growth areas. High-growth areas refer to those locations with increasing populations and growing economies. Properties and structures built in these areas have high demands, and are, therefore, good for investments.

So, if you are planning for investment of your custom home, then go for a location of land in the high-growth areas. At most times, these high-growth areas will be located in urban areas. Investing on custom homes at the rural regions can bring some profit, but this doesn’t really compare to the one that would’ve otherwise been earned at the urban areas. This is because urban areas offer easier access to utility sources and amenities than rural areas. Hence, most people prefer structures located in urban areas.

Natural Resource Rights 

Some locations include natural resource rights, such as water rights, timber rights, mineral rights, and access rights. These rights are usually held by third parties of the and that a person intends to buy. In most cases, land buyers lack any information on the existence of natural resource rights. It is really important that a person finds out if such natural resource rights exist in the location of the land. This is because knowledge of the existence of these rights may mean benefit or even demerit on a person.

For instance, water rights dictate how a person used their land, even when they have natural water resources passing through their land. Some water rights dictate that a person living near water sources should not keep livestock, as these may contaminate the water sources. 

Therefore, the existence of natural resources can limit a person on what they can or cannot do in their custom home. Before you buy a land to build a custom home, you should ensure that the set natural resource rights are favorable to you and won’t limit you whatsoever.

Picture Your Neighborhood in 5-10 years

When buying real estate lands to build a custom home, most people make one big mistake. They see one positive aspect of the property, focus on this and forget to consider the bigger aspects. For instance, there could be a railway line near the plot of land, and the passing of trains could disrupt their sleep at night. Or, maybe it’s a developing piece of land, and soon a major street will be built adjacent to the property, disrupting their privacy.

So, when buying land, don’t just focus on the present time, and how great things will go. A wise person would peer into the near future, to ensure that the piece of land will still offer the same comfort and privacy, even 5 to 10 years to come.

Conclusion

The initial step to building the perfect custom home is choosing the perfect piece of land. Choosing the perfect piece of land, in turn, doesn’t just happen. It requires a lot of research done and plans made. The above-discussed factors will help you settle on the best piece of land to build your dream house. Our team is here to help you buy the land that will meet your needs and preferences, and ensure that you enjoy your custom home now and in generations to come!