Picking a Piece of Land when Building a Custom Home

What to Know when Picking a Piece of Land

(Source: Homes.com)

Everyone goes into the process of building a home thinking about the house and the features they want. But quickly it’s evident that choosing the right piece of land is just as important as the house itself.

A wrong decision can turn your dreams into a nightmare of unanticipated expense and delay, and compromises that diminish your dream.

Jul 2004, Pullman, Washington, USA

The process of buying and building on urban and suburban sites has become more challenging over the past 50 years due to environmental priorities and the urbanization of the American landscape. Land use constraints and zoning regulations can add significantly to the cost and time involved in purchasing land. While policies that set aside land for environmental and recreational purposes enhance the appeal of communities, they also reduce the opportunities and increase the cost of new construction.

Some families building their own homes already have a lot or plans.

Finding a well-situated perfect lot is not an easy task, however. Today, individuals building custom homes compete with residential builders who are also looking for ideal sites; commercial developers seeking locations for shopping centers, office development, multi-family housing, health care facilities, and stand-alone retail outlets; and with local governments seeking to expand park and recreational spaces.

Setting your priorities

Collage made with architecture and construction related images

Finding the ideal lot begins by deciding what you are looking for. Decide on the features you want and prioritize them to make it easier to make decisions when you winnow down your list. Here are some categories to consider as you compile your priorities.

General Area. Begin with the geography. How far away are you planning to move? Do you want to remain close to friends and family? How far do you want to live from your place of employment? Do you have a county, Zip code, town or city where you want to begin your search?

Urban, Suburban or Rural. Are you looking to move closer or farther to a city center? Are you willing to pay more for and wait longer for a lot closer to a city center than one located in an outlying suburb or rural area?

Access to Work, Schools and Community Services. How important are commuting distances to work, access to public transit, schools, shopping, recreation facilities, hospitals, church, open spaces? Is “walkability” important to you or not? Would you rather be five minutes away or is half an hour OK?

Lifestyle. Are beautiful vistas and closeness to nature more important to you than the bright lights of a city? Do you want enough land to grow a garden or let your pets roam or would you rather not cut half an acre of grass every week?

Locating Sites

House and town plans on lawn (digital composite)

This is where having a great Realtor and trusted custom builder comes in handy. In Columbus, Stonecliff Homes relies on expert Realtors to help our buyers locate land when they don’t already have it. The right Realtor can search the MLS database for lots and land listed for sale, and can help narrow the search based on lot price, acreage, school district, area, view, and lot features (plus more).

Next Steps

If you’re thinking of building a home, we’d love to speak with you. We can simultaneously get you started on finding the right piece of land while also discussing your wants and needs in a home. We can begin the design process and talk about everything from the first step to handing you the keys.

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