Nothing quite comes close to the American dream of owning your own home — except maybe choosing the land it occupies, too. It harkens back to days on the frontier, when building a home was a critical step in securing the “free” land offered by the US government.
Of course, that land isn’t “free” anymore, but choosing your own vacant lot gives you a unique sense of freedom and a special bond with your home-to-be. But just as building the actual home structure comes with a lot of regulations and decisions, so too does choosing the land on which your home sits. From potential easements and restrictive covenants to financial considerations, here are a few important to-dos before choosing a piece of vacant land to build on.
Hire a Home Builder to Help You Survey the Land
Of course, you will want to scope out a potential plot completely to decide whether or not it’s a suitable match for your aesthetic preferences and your lifestyle. This will include assessing the size, the views, and the desirability of the location.
But you will also need to walk the entire property and examine it closely to get an idea of any barriers to construction — including trees that need to be cleared, hills that will need to be graded, and much more — and this is when help from an expert makes things easier. Partnering with an experienced home builder will also give you an expert assessment of the land and save you time, money, and headaches down the road. The assessment will cover factors including:
- The best placement of your home
- Potential restrictive covenants, which could change what type of house you’re able to build
- Possible easements that allow other people to pass through private property to access their land
- Land prep, including removing trees, large rocks, and other building obstructions to moving earth in and out of your lot
- Demolishing any existing homes or structures
- Unseen ground conditions that could affect the build or your utilities
- Utilities hookup, and whether or not you’ll need to install a septic tank or create new power, phone, and cable hookups
Understand How Buying Land Differs Financially from Buying a Home
Unfortunately, buying land and buying a home aren’t the same thing to your bank. It’s likely that you won’t be able to get a loan as you would with a home, so you’ll need to be prepared to pay in cash if the land is vacant and without a structure. After all, the home you’ll build acts as collateral on the loan, meaning you’ll have a better chance of being approved for a construction loan on the home you want to build on that land.
Choosing a Lot in the City Occupied by an Existing Home
If you’re looking to build a custom home in Austin, more than likely you’re finding a lot with an existing home on it that you’re planning to demolish and rebuild from scratch. There are many things to take into consideration if this is your urban dream. Finding an ideal lot depends, of course, on your budget, but also the location you’re after. If you have a family with kids, you’ll probably be hunting for something within a good proximity to a school district you’d like your children to attend. If you’re more in the market for amenities, you’ll be looking at neighborhoods that are close to shopping, dining, entertainment, etc. Since we have team members that are dedicated to real estate, you can use us as a one-stop shop for your hunting and building needs.
Know the Value of Nearby Homes
No matter the location of your desired plot, it’s important to consider the cost of the other homes in your potential neighborhood or nearby. Why? Well, let’s say you purchase the land and draw up plans for a home design build that, together, add up to more than $2 million. If it turns out that the nearby homes are valued at $1 or $1.5 million, you’re most likely going to be denied for your construction loan.
Paradisa Homes Can Help You Build on Your Lot in Austin
Here at Paradisa Homes, we don’t just sell finished homes — we partner with you to find the perfect location to build your custom home. From finding the ideal plot of land, to understanding any restrictive covenants or easements on the home, to determining what lot size you need, we’ll help you help you through the process of building on your own lot in Austin from start to finish. Contact us today, and let’s get started on bringing your vision of a dream home to life!