Practical Tips to Building a New Home on Your Lot
Building a new home allows families to customize the space before the construction process begins, saving time, money and effort when it comes time to move in.
For many homebuyers, the option of selecting land and building a new home is exciting and compelling. When you design and build your own home, you’re getting what you want, and you’re going to love everything in the house!
Typically, many buyers have a vision of their dream home that includes the land their home will rest on, as well as the design and construction of their ideal home. When I speak to homeowners who’ve had the opportunity to build on their lot, most will tell you that selecting a favorite piece of land and then designing and building a home that fully leverages the unique topography and views of the lot is a gratifying experience.
Generally, people start their new home journey with a piece of land they’re considering buying. If you’re such a homebuyer, step one — ideally, before you purchase land — should be a careful assessment of the feasibility and cost to build on that parcel of land.
Many people are attracted to undeveloped and secluded areas — and such land can indeed be quite beautiful. If you have your eye on ridge-top land with commanding views located far from power lines, you and a building professional with expertise in build-on-your-lot homes should give thought to the feasibility and the cost of creating what builders refer to as a buildable lot.
Break Ground Without Breaking the Bank
To the untrained eye, a lot or parcel of land may appear to be easily buildable, but prove not to be. More than one land lover has learned the hard way that ignorance can be expensive, but knowledge is power. Especially if you’re in the market for land in remote or less-developed areas, it’s wise to consult an experienced builder with the local knowledge and strong build-on-your-lot expertise.
Including an experienced Realtor and a Builder to become a part of your land search process can help you avoid more difficult lots and save you money — both on the purchase price of the property and by helping you better understand, in advance, the cost to turn land into a buildable lot. It's a Team effort!
Consulting these professionals is essential as it can be surprising (and not readily apparent) how much additional site work may be required to make a particular lot buildable.
It’s Also Wise to Consider The Lot Carefully, Even in More Developed Areas
If you’re considering buying an improved lot in an existing new home community, you can probably skip past issues of access to electricity, natural gas, water, and sewer connections – since those will likely be in place. However, even in this case, doing your homework with an experienced builder will also pay off.
Here's one example, one site may require a foundation for your home supported by below-ground piers. Another site may need extensive excavation work, which can run into thousands of dollars. And there are other considerations as well, including a complete understanding of the easements, zoning laws, property line restrictions, and architecture guidelines and review processes.
The good news?
Many build-on-your-lot buyers find few issues to resolve with a prospective lot, but doing your homework in advance is nonetheless wise. So, now you have a great lot or piece of land that fits your needs and budget. What comes next?
Designing a Home That Works Well On Your Lot
Many build-on-your-lot firms have extensive libraries of floor plans; one of these existing plans may be ideal for your taste, budget and the land you select. In other cases, you may want to modify an existing home plan to reflect the unique character of your lot better — to take advantage of views, work around mature trees you seek to retain, or perhaps to benefit from passive solar heat gain.
While many homebuyers find that an existing home plan or a modified version of a plan will work well for their needs and lot, other buyers may wish to invest in a custom home plan drawn from scratch to more fully reflect their design goals for their home and the unique topography of their land.
Four Things to Look for in a Build-On-Your-Lot Builder
When looking for a build-on-your-lot builder, here are four things to consider:
1. Choose a builder with substantial experience in building on a customer’s land. Many builders specialize in building on improved lots in master-planned communities that already have the infrastructure in place (water, gas, electrical, sewer, etc.). Other builders specialize in building on land that requires improvement. Some builders do both. Make sure your builder has strong build-on-your-lot expertise.
2. Select a builder that offers a variety of floor plans and can adopt a floor plan to the topography of your lot.
3. Choose a builder that has enough buying power to ensure you receive the best prices for high-quality goods. Such savings are passed on to the homebuyer, including the purchase price of appliances, light fixtures, and flooring. You may consider working with a builder that has a design center where you can choose and coordinate your cabinetry and other options.
4. Pick a builder that will stand behind and service the home. Make sure the builder has a good warranty program, which typically should include a ten-year warranty on certain aspects of the structural integrity of the home.
How Build-On-Your-Lot Builders Offer Valuable Insights and Advice
For those that already own land, a Builder may offer a free home site evaluation that includes the positioning of your home on the lot, a review of trees that can be retained or cleared and a review of utilities available. Other Builders have a build-on-your-lot program which consists of these five steps:
1.Individual Lot Assistance
2. Home Placement Consultation
3. Architectural Design Planning
4. Interior Design Selection
5. Personal Custom Builder Support.
Regardless of the builder you select, be realistic with your time expectations. While a home can be built in 90-100 days, a custom built home on one's lot can reasonably take six months or longer.
It’s All Worth It
Living where you want, on land, that you may have dreamed about for years, has become an essential part of the American dream. In a culture that values individuality and self-expression, more people are opting to buy their land first, and then building a custom or semi-custom home.
By hiring a builder with a robust build-on-your-lot program, homebuyers can save money as well as the hassle of hiring their architect and general contractor. Build-on-your-lot builders will assist you with site evaluations, floorplans, permits, coordination, construction, and in some cases, even financing.
Ready for the next step?
When you decide to explore the option of building your own home, take advantage of the build on your lot search option here at Luxe Santa Fe Homes. Pamalita-Paloma Alioto is a Certified New Home Specialist as well as being Residential Construction Certified; you can rest assured you are in experienced and capable hands. Contact us today and let's get to work on building your dream home!