Most custom home buyers do so because of the potential: rather than settling for someone else’s vision, you can make a home tailored to your exact desires. It’s a blank slate for your dreams. So it’s understandable that some custom home buyers will build on their own pre-purchased land.
But while that land may have striking and unique features – lots of woods, a nearby river, a dramatic hill – it also carries a lot of challenges. Whether you’re still scouting for locations or if you already have the perfect piece of land, there’s a lot to know before you start building on it!
Zoning, Zoning, Zoning
Local zoning regulations can be a bit of a quagmire, to say the least, and even the most creative builder has to obey the law. Some only apply to certain locations; for instance, you may have to build an easement driveway or run power through a neighboring lot to get to yours.
But some are much more specific; for instance, Fremont, CA has specific regulations for roof pitch, maximum height for second stories, and more. These regulations are usually for established neighborhoods, so if you want to go big and go home, consider moving out to the country.
Loans and Collateral
Getting a mortgage is one thing, and chances are if you’re building a custom home you’ve likely been through the process already. But getting a loan to buy a lot is significantly more complicated. You see, a traditional mortgage has the house for its collateral; if you default, the bank can just take the home back.
But land is just that – land. It’s harder to sell and has less appeal, and so you should get ready for a significant down payment, even as high as 50%. Yet another reason to build in the country is that certain USDA loans can make this much easier.
Get to Know the Land
This is especially important for those aforementioned rural lots: have surveyors and other experts check out the land!
In established neighborhoods or developments, lots are typically ready to go. But if you’re going somewhere new or further out, you can run in to all kinds of issues: flood zones, toxic soil, unstable foundations. Not all of these issues are dealbreakers, but they could raise the cost or even ruin the job once it gets going.
Do you want to build your very own custom home? Tingen Construction can help! We have decades of experience building dreams around the Triangle. Contact us today and let’s get started!