Land Acquisition & Site Construction

The home site / land purchase is one of the first and most important steps.

How does the land purchase effect my custom home?

  • The site plan dramatically effects how long it takes for you to build, the total cost of your project and may limit you to certain sizes and types of house plans and home styles, especially if it is in a neighborhood with a home owners' association. See the 22 point checklist at the bottom of this page.
  • You certainly would not want to spend a lot of time and money on a floor plan that you later find out would not work in a particular community or lot you purchased after you paid for the floor plan.
  • What if prior to your purchasing the lot, a mobile home was removed and the lot has a perfectly good well, septic tank, old barn, culvert at the road and the home site is mostly cleared. This may save you over $20,000 off the cost of your new home and so this lot may be much less expensive than it first appears. Working with a builder, you realize exactly how much it saves you to build on that lot.
  • Likewise, there are lots that may require a holding pond, have a substantial slope, have restrictive covenants and may cost you at least $20 - $50,000 more to build on. Maybe there is a reason that gorgeous 10 acres is still on the market.

Make sure you consult with a builder either before: 1. Before you make an offer on a potential lot. Or if you already own your lot before: 2. You start floor plan design, finalizing your budget or other steps that might depend on the lot and its features.

Let’s meet for a free no obligation consultation. In out meeting with you we will cover whatever areas and topics you want help and assistance with including site acquisition and site evaluation. We will come out to visit your site or potential site and provide you with the information needed for you to go on to the next step in the process informed and ready. Some frequent topics, including, but not limited to:

  • Land Buying Assistance - We work with Realtors who specialize in specific areas of the market to find you the best location for your new custom home at the right price. These are specialist that do not sell homes they sell land. They are aware if site and building requirement of a new home.
  • Land / Site Issues - We have not just built about every type and size of home, but have built on about every type of site. In fact we have done it multiple times. Does your site have bad soil, wetland issues, drainage, an extreme slope on your site, an unusually shaped lot, is it near a lake or other water body or on a very tight lot? No matter your situation we have probably seen it before.

When you come in we can discuss what type of site you will need and where you are looking. If you already own land, then let’s do a site visit and look at your specific home site. We can then go down our site plan checklist to see which items you need to carefully avoid and which characteristics would be helpful. With that in mind you may be able to reduce the cost of your site improvements and use that money on project savings or upgrades and additional features on your home. A more informed land purchase is a better land purchase and we can help make it a more stress free and informed experience. Again, if you already own a lot, you simply need a builder to provide you with a written lot evaluation.

Lot Evaluation / Acquisition Checklist

Utilities Considerations and Issues

  1. What are the sites utility requirements? Is there public water or is a well required? Is sewer available or is a septic tank required? Who is the provider? Some utility providers are dramatically different in their charges for water, electricity, sewer and gas?
  2. If you will be drilling a well, will the well be drilled 75 feet deep through sand or 500 feet deep through rock? Both situation exist in North Florida.
  3. Is the electric service in the area required to be underground? Is it coming to your house underground or overhead? Whether underground or overhead is a transformer and lift poles required on your site or nearby? The cost could be dramatic if the distance is far enough away.
  4. If a septic tank is required, has the soil and water table been evaluated by a septic tank specialist? What are the septic tank elevation and sizing requirements? Will a septic pump be required? A raised drain field (that gigantic mound in your yard)? A grinder added to the pump? Did you realize that you could have a high water table on the top of a hill?
  5. Does the site have natural gas? If not, will you need gas and a propane tank.

Site – Legal / Restrictions

  1. Do you have a lot survey? Are the corners / sides marked?
  2. Any easements? Transportation? Utility? Drainage or conservation?
  3. What are the setbacks for building? How far can you build from the lot line? This can determine what size home you can build and where on the lot it is placed. We once had a home owner that had so many restrictions and the setbacks that he had to get an acceptation from the community and the county to build his home even though the site was 7 acres. The site was almost non-buildable and only 2 acres were wet.
  4. Are there any home owner association requirements or deed restrictions? Some requirements may add HUGE additional expenses such as roof pitches, square footage minimums, sidewalks, paved driveway, brick, elevations, landscaping, irrigation, various features like trash can fences, home design style, and building materials, etc.

Site – Elevation and Natural Features / Restrictions

  1. Do you have turtles, karst, fox holes, bald eagles or natural features that must be avoided? These again may be very small and you have not even noticed them, but they again may render you site completely non-buildable.
  2. Is the property in the flood zone? Can you build on the lot at all and if so how close to the water or wetland can you build? What water protections may be required during the build and after the house is constructed?
  3. If in or near a wet / low area are there any elevation requirements on your home? Any elevation requirements could be dramatic as the look and cost of your home. They also could not only effect your home but your well, septic, HVAC, ETC… if truly a wetland and substantial water running through the lot you may need to walk the property in a pouring rain prior to building.
  4. Where is the water table? In some cases, you may be limited to the type of the foundations we can use. In addition, you may be required to build an above ground mound or drain field. This is both a visual issue and an issue with additional cost. Did you know you could have a high water table on the top of a hill?
  5. Is a culvert needed?  If so, what size? Any building material requirements? How about cutting into a large hill to get into the property.
  6. What size is the lot?  Will the house plan and style you have selected fit on the property?
  7. Are there any large or special species of protected trees that are on your property and must be protected?
  8. Is the lot sloped where you are going to build the house? If so, how much?  In some cases, additional block/fill may be required. If the slope is substantial the additional cost will be substantial. A substantial slope could add up to require twice the foundation cost. Does this effect the front or elevation (look) of the house? Will it allow you to build a pool or any other site plans or does this render the site unbuildable for a pool?
  9. Will the garage door be located on the front or the side of the home?  Side load garages should have 25 ft. between the garage and the property line to allow adequate access. Is this the high side or the low side and is the substantial slope angled going into the garage? Do you need the garage on the other side?

Site – Other Site Modifications / Issues

  1. Do you need any trees removed? Size? How many?
  2. Has the soil been tested by a soil engineer? What type of foundation is required? How much more will that cost to build your home on bad soil?
  3. Are there any items that will need cleared or removed from the property? Old cars? Mobile home? Old shed? Old wells that need capped?
  4. Are there any obvious concerns with the property? This could be something as simple as the soil being wet and soft on a dry day, standing water, large trees, large depression, appearance of a possible foundation of a prior structure or such in the building area. These features need to be addressed now they may add additional expenses and may require moving the house and additional permitting.

Take the worry out of working with a builder who is not familiar with your situation. We are very comfortable with just about every site condition, and have built homes in every county in the area. Many times we can save you significant time and money with simple observations and suggestions which you may not have thought of. Give us a call and let’s talk or visit your site. It always free and there is no obligation whether you use us or another builder.