After over 30 years of custom building within a 100 mile radius of St. Louis, HomeSource can provide assistance in finding land within our service area. We can refer you to licensed real estate brokers who have experience in land sales. We also can recommend planned custom home communities based upon our relationships with land development companies in the area. Or just tap into our knowledge based upon our familiarity of our service area and where our customers have built their custom homes.
Generally, it is advisable to first define your search area. There are many factors affecting your choice for a preferred location, including proximity to shopping, health care, and work along with convenient access to the primary roadways. If the schools are important, contact the school district office for boundary lines for elementary, junior, and senior high schools. You will also have to consider the code requirements and zoning ordinances within the municipality or county and how it will affect your custom home building plans.
Once a general search area has been established, it is advisable to do some research on line. Among the many internet resources available, realtor.com and landwatch.com are two of the most comprehensive and up to date land search sites.
But the most important thing to do is get to know your search area. Take the time to drive by any building sites identified on line or from recommendations from a realtor or HomeSource Custom Homes. Oftentimes what may appear to be a desirable lot as viewed on line may have problems that will affect the feasibility of building a custom home. The site topography may have grade/slope issues. Perhaps the building site is adjacent to commercial/industrial property or the value of the neighboring existing homes don’t support the investment you’re preparing to make. You won’t necessarily know this vital information unless you drive by the site.
The cost and availability of power, gas, phone, water supply, and wastewater treatment are often overlooked when buying a rural or remote site. These services, especially septic systems and water wells, can prove to be costly and cause budget overruns or project cancellation. In such instances, renewable energy based systems for power supply, rainwater harvesting, eco-friendly wastewater treatment and waterless toilets become extremely cost-effective solutions. Failure to allow an adequate budget for services often leads to shortcuts with water supply, wastewater treatment and energy supply — with serious lifestyle and environmental consequences.
There are other lot development factors which can increase your building costs. If the site is heavily wooded, you’ll need to allocate funds for clearing the trees. If there is an existing structure on the property, you will have to plan and budget for its removal. Depending upon the house position on the land, there could be additional costs for an extended driveway or connection to utilities. The geology of the land also is important, whether the site will require blasting of rock in order to build, a major expense. HomeSource will typically recommend that an engineer or soil consultant be consulted.
If you’re looking for a lot within a planned community, consider the value and aesthetics of the homes already built. Assess how long the development has been open and the sales rate to date. Obtain a copy of the subdivision covenants and restrictions, which, among other things, will typically identify minimum house square footage, building set back lines and acceptable exterior building materials – all of which will affect your building costs. Ask for a plat map of the site, which will also show any easements affecting the property.
After a potential building site has been found and researched, the next step is determine how your plan will interact with the site. Identify any natural site drainage patterns and how they can be maintained. Steeper sites usually generate more storm water runoff. Another important factor to consider is how the house should be directionally oriented to take advantage of natural daylighting and shading of both interior and exterior living spaces. The contour of the land will influence the house style, layout, and colors.
There are so many things to consider when looking for a custom building site. Your site is one of the most critical decisions that will affect your enjoyment and long term value of your one-of-a-kind custom home. If you do the proper research, utilize the knowledge of professionals within the industry, and allocate an adequate amount of time, you should find the best property for your new home.