How to Choose a Building Site That's Worth the Investment


There are three types of land you can buy for a house you want to build:

  • Undeveloped land: raw turf; no streets, gutters, sewers; no gas and electric lines; no grading; no surveyed lots.
  • Developed land: everything but the house is on hand; probably owned by a developer-builder who typically sells lots to be built on under the builder’s management.
  • Spot lots: unused property in an established neighborhood.

Whatever kind of property you propose to buy, get professional advice on the feasibility of building the kind of home there that you have in mind. A poor site choice can adversely affect your ability to get a loan. Here are a few other things to check out:

  • Zoning laws Will they permit the kind of home you expect to build? Read covenants carefully.
  • Water and sewage In buying developed land or a spot lot, find out (from county offices) where the water line is located. Check to see if there is a sewage line and if newcomers are permitted to hook into it. If not, check into septic system rules and costs.
  • Gas and electricity Are they available and at what cost?
  • Taxes How much are they and how do they compare to taxes on similar property in other areas?
  • Surrounding property Check maps (at county offices) to find out what plans (highways, power lines, etc.) may be in the offing for woods, fields, open spaces near the property.


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