5 Tips for Finding The Perfect Plot Of Land To Build Your Dream House
2021 February 25
Imagine: You wake up in your dream house. Then, you journey outside to find that your picture-perfect home is also on the perfect plot of land that you picked out yourself.
Unfortunately, reality bites: finding a plot of land to build your dream house on is not only difficult but extremely time and energy-consuming. After all, there’s only so much land and only so many places zoned to build.
Choosing a place to build your own home is a big deal! Of course, you want to find the best piece of land possible, but you also have to stay within your budget. Lack of availability and intense bidding competition over the few available plots can make finding the perfect property a stress-fueled nightmare in a moving process that’s already stressful enough.
We here at Eagle Creek Homes firmly believe that building your dream house should be fun! That’s why we are here to help, with 5 tips for buying the perfect plot of land for your dream house. After reading this, you’ll be able to take a deep breath, take a step back, and enjoy the process:
#1 Define Your Dream Location
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can often be something left on the back burner in all of the excitement of building your dream house. Step one should be defining your ideal place to live. Consider the following:
- Where do you see yourself in 10-20 years?
- Do you want to continue living where you are now?
- Are you going to move states or cities?
- Are you looking to live in a neighborhood or a more rural location?
- Do you want a waterfront property, a countryside manor, or does the urban jungle call your name?
You are creating your dream home; if you don’t build it in a place you love, you may find yourself selling down the road or settling — and neither are ideal options.
Make sure that you get to know the area you’re looking in. You not only want to be in a landscape you love, but also a place you enjoy with the culture you’re looking for. Take time to get to know the area you’re leaning towards. From there, take advantage of online maps and listing websites, which can refine the search for you. Established residential neighborhoods tend to have more advertised listings.
If you’re looking to build around an already established neighborhood, make sure you consider building a home similar to the surrounding ones, as this can directly affect the value of your dream home down the road.
#2 Start With a Builder
When seeking out the perfect plot of land to build your home on, remember that home builders are already 10 steps ahead of you. It’s their job to have an eye out for potential plots and to know what people are looking for in a piece of land.
Builders invest countless hours and resources identifying the best lots even before they are available to the public. Utilizing this can save you a TON of hassle and precious time. Like us at Eagle Creek Homes, knowledgeable builders can look at a plot of land and visualize its potential because we know the best land conditions for building and what modifications are possible on the given landscape.
As a bonus, many builders can offer rates lower than the bank if you choose to purchase a plot through them because the builder already has an established relationship with the lender. Buying through builders also leads to a streamlined approval and inspection process!
#3 or Check Out Planning Departments
If you’re not ready to go to a builder, there is another clever way to find the perfect plot of land: go directly to any planning department and ask them to see the Planning Register.
There you can find all applications (and decisions) from anyone wishing to get planning permission approved to build on a piece of land. Most councils will even publish these public records on their websites!
If you decide to go this route, make sure you are looking for recent applications, preferably outlined (not a literal drawing) for single houses. Ideally, the application has not been approved yet. This is the best-case scenario, because a plot of land will typically not be advertised for sale until the planning approval has been granted, enhancing the plot’s value. This means if you spot it early enough, you can make an approach before others are even aware that the property is going to be for sale.
Often, the person applying for approval is the owner of the land and has intentions to sell. If the application is vague, that’s an indicator that they are planning to sell. That way, they don’t waste time coming up with a detailed plan just to sell it off and have a purchaser change it all.
Of course, this isn’t a foolproof way to find a plot, but there is no reason why you couldn’t politely contact the applicant and inquire.
#4 Beware of Building Restrictions & Land Banking
Whether you are renovating or building new, construction comes with all sorts of permits, restrictions, and Home Owner’s Association fees. Neither permits nor HOA fees are voluntary.
Permits enforce regulations in order to maintain standards, quality, and safety of the housing stock. On the other hand, HOA fees are annual charges used to maintain your neighborhood’s preconceived level of quality and lifestyle. In other words, the money is used for the administration and maintenance of your surrounding area.
Ensure that you have all of the required city permits and approvals you need BEFORE you begin any construction. We recommend that you check in with your local HOA to determine if your location is even worth building on.
You and your builder are responsible for understanding the rules, regulations, laws, and procedures that will affect your project. You don’t have the time to halt construction and start over, or the money to pay large fees, for not doing things the right way. So make sure you are thorough, and take the time and care to do everything right from the beginning.
#5 Utilize All Listing Resources
Don’t use just one or two resources for finding land. There are many resources available, and you should use them all! After all, this is your dream home we’re talking about here! Leave no stone unturned.
Make sure to check:
- Online real estate sites
- Real estate agents
- Newspaper ads
- Consistently search your desired area
- Ask family and friends
- Use legal plats through courthouses
Land is a finite resource, and many pawns are standing between you and your dream plot. As they say, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Unless you’re lucky, finding a plot of land that you love will require a bit of elbow grease and a lot of patience and determination.
However, by utilizing these 5 tips, you can successfully narrow down what you’re truly looking for in your ideal place to live. When making a final decision, remember to slow down and weigh out all of your options thoughtfully!
If you choose to look to a custom home builder for help, we encourage you to talk to us at Eagle Creek Homes. We have years of experience, plus the people and resources to make your dream home on your dream plot a reality.