Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: November 26, 2018
What does the dream of your next home look like? Is it out in the country or in a neighborhood? If you can’t seem to find the right home in the right place, maybe you’ve decided to find the land and hire a builder to construct your dream home. When that’s the direction you’re taking, McGuinn Hybrid Homes has tips for choosing land to build on your lot.
#1. Talk to a builder before you buy.
As appealing as a piece of undeveloped land may look, unless you understand excavation and building, don’t assume it’s buildable. Save yourself the time and trouble (and money!) by talking to a builder first. You might discover that not every building company is willing to build on land they don’t already own. Make sure you find one who has experience with site preparation, which includes demolition and excavation. For example, if an existing home is demolished without a permit, you can run into delays because all of the material removed from the site needs to be accounted for (e.g., where did the asbestos go?).
Talk to the builder about the property you’re looking for. Ask if they’ll take a look at the land before you enter a bid or make a purchase. In some cases, you can make an offer and include the contingency that the land (1) must pass the percolation (“perc”) test for septic, (if it hasn’t been tested already); and (2) must be approved by the builder as a “buildable” lot.
#2. Look for the right combination.
Tim Rawlings, McGuinn Hybrid Homes’ Lot Sales and Marketing Manager, advises you to look for three factors when choosing land to build on:
“It should be flat, cleared, with water and sewer.”
Land that is level and cleared requires considerably less site prep, which means the overall cost to build a home is less. McGuinn Hybrid Homes bases its homebuilding prices on a slab foundation, which requires flat land. Even if you want a crawl space under your home, you need to start with level land.
Property that has water and sewer lines available is less expensive than digging a septic system and a well.
Tim says it can be difficult to find land that has all three characteristics, but it’s helpful to understand why they are important to your building plans.
#3. Reconsider the neighborhoods.
Before you fall in love with a homesite that’s available within a community, find out the restrictions of building a home there. You might have to submit your plans to an architectural review board for that neighborhood. Their requirements could cause you to run up a significant expense for redoing the plans to their liking.
#4. Avoid the tax pitfall with farm land.
Are you getting a parcel from the family’s land? If that piece of land has been taxed as agricultural, make sure you designate only the land you’re building on as residential. At least in South Carolina, the tax rate between agricultural land and residential land can make a big difference in your cost. When converting the land to residential, be aware that roll-back taxes may be involved.
As with any big decision, do your homework. You can avoid the pitfalls that could be lurking beneath that scenic piece of land by consulting a knowledgeable builder. In the Columbia, SC, area, talk to Tim at McGuinn Hybrid Homes. You can count on his deep experience in excavation, site prep, home design, and energy-efficient construction.