Buying the Perfect Plot of Land in 2023

Land for Custom House Build

There is a lot to consider when determining the best plot of land for your new home. Sometimes it can feel like a game of 20 questions. 

  • Is this a primary home or a vacation getaway?
  • Do you want to live in a neighborhood close to other families, or are you hoping to have more space?
  • Do you want a view?
  • What about trees or pastures?
  • How important is air quality? 
  • Does the land have access to internet and electric service?
  • Is the land near shopping, and other resources that are important to you?

Answering these questions and more will help you narrow down your land search. Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, it's time to start visiting available plots. Here are some tips for selecting the best land for your future house.

5 Key Considerations:

Make sure the size and scale of your desired home works with the site. It's critical to have a sense of how many square feet you want and can afford, and then review that number with your potential land size. Check with the local planning board to get a copy of the zoning ordinance to understand the maximum allowable bulk dimensions of your home (based on zoning and floor area ratios) and the appropriate scale for the neighborhood. This will ensure your land and your house plan do not come into conflict.
Consider the views of and from the site. If it's important to you, be sure to assess the view of the property from afar and what you will see out your future windows. Be sure to visit the site at different times of the day so you can get a feel for how the sunlight traverses the property. Remember, location is forever - you can change your house as much as you want, but your plot of land will generally stay the same over the years.
Take photos and videos of every aspect of the site. Don't be camera shy - it will be important to visit and document the land from different angles to understand potential window views, lighting, and even sound considerations. 
Assess the terrain. The land should ideally have an area situated on an elevated, leveled place for the house. Decisions like building into the side of a hill is possible, but it will change your house's configuration and foundation. It's always easier (and cheaper) to work with the terrain vs. against it. In addition, the soil should meet a certain density level to allow for a strong foundation.
Consider solar options. If it is important to you, consider whether or not the site allows you to take advantage of solar panels. If so, you could be eligible for tax benefits and get the peace of mind of not having to rely on the grid.

How to Find Land:

You might take a look online and find that there's almost no land available in the area you are looking, and that the few lots that are available have been sitting on the market for many months or years (implying that something is wrong with them).

The reality is that most of the developable land in highly desirable places has already been bought up by local builders so you may have to go through a builder (with a tie in) in order to purchase a viable plot of land. 

Performing Due Diligence:

The next step in the process is to perform a comprehensive zoning review and lot evaluation so that you can ensure the house you want to build will work, and that it will fit your budget. Read more in our next post.

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