Building A New Home on Your Own Lot: What You Need to Know
Before deciding to build a home on your own lot, take our advice on how to choose a homebuilder to help ensure you don’t overlook anything critical.
Building a home on your own land can be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life — as long as you’re prepared. There are a lot of variables to consider, and you’ll need the help of professionals to ensure you don’t overlook the important details before breaking ground.
Hire A Homebuilder Early in the Process
Our biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to build on their own lot is to consult a builder before buying land. Choosing to involve your builder early on in your decision-making has the potential to save you time, and a lot of money in the long-run.
Your homebuilder will not only help you determine the best placement of the home, but also whether or not you should build on a particular lot at all. You see, it’s easy to get swept up in the vision of your future home on an attractive piece of land, but there’s always a chance there are problems you don’t see right away – more on that a little later.
Choosing A Build-On-Your-Lot Homebuilder
There’s a lot of work that goes into choosing a trustworthy homebuilder, especially when you want to build on your own lot.
You need to look for a local team with visible experience in build-on-your-lot projects. These teams are more likely to keep your build on budget as well as bring a critical understanding of zoning laws, restrictions, and easements. Hiring local is especially important if you’re planning to build in a rural area, where the rules are more than likely different than in-city.
What to look for in a builder:
- Experience – Do they do a lot of build-on-your-own-lot projects? Take time to ask for a reference or two and talk to them about their experiences.
- Floorplans – If you’re going to purchase your own lot first, it might be in your best interest, financially, to work with your builder to choose a floorplan they’ve done before, or customize any of their existing designs. The important thing to look for is options – do they have them, and are they flexible in delivering what you want?
- Purchasing-Power – A homebuilder with good connections is more likely to get you a competitive price on building materials, especially if you’re using one of their floorplans.
Starting with the initial inspection of your lot, your builder should be transparent and up-front about all the things that’ll have to happen BEFORE construction on your home begins. Things like removing earth, bringing dirt in, building a driveway or special foundation work should be discussed and factored into your project’s overall budget.
Knowing the costs up-front will save you money on unforeseen project additions.
Which leads us to one more point to consider before contacting a builder — knowing your budget before you call. It’s not always a comfortable conversation, but sharing your budget with an experienced builder up-front allows them to help you make the right choices throughout the build process, ultimately saving you money.
Choosing A Lot to Build Your Home
Most of the time, you either inherit a piece of land, or choose to work with a realtor to buy one. Whichever scenario, we suggest involving your homebuilder of choice before diving into planning a home.
It goes without saying, but if you choose to plan your project independently, make sure you’re up to date on any building restrictions in your area. From there, you’ll want to start considering groundwork items like utility and sewage hookup. It can get complicated fast, and while we don’t usually have to involve a civil engineer when we work with our own clients, it can happen.
Some of those basic considerations, like utilities and sewage, are less complicated in urban areas. But regardless of where your land is, there are a few things you might not expect, like:
- Cost of Lot Prep – This includes everything from necessary tree removal, to moving earth in and out of your lot.
- Cost of Driveways – You’d be surprised how often people forget to factor this in, but you’re probably going to need a driveway.
- Cost of Energy Efficient Building/Materials – Not to mention the long-term savings!
- Cost of Hooking Up Utilities – Gas, Electric and Water will more than likely need to be routed to your new lot.
- Water Flow – Does your lot have one or more slopes? How does water move about the property?
- Unseen Ground Conditions – This is one the biggest reasons to involve a builder as soon as you can, because the average person might not be able to tell what’s going on below the sod. If you’re building in a rural area, can your lot support a septic system?
If you’re interested in building on your own land, but still need help choosing or preparing a lot, we can help. Reinbrecht Homes is here to offer our services and advice, and we look forward to working with people like you to build custom homes anywhere in the TriState.