Post details: How to Select a Building Lot - Part 3

02/17/05

Permalink 10:36:51 am, Categories: Articles, 426 words   English (US)

How to Select a Building Lot - Part 3


Scoping Out Land Use

LandIf there is undeveloped land near a building site, it's critical to find out what is planned for it. Contact local government planning and zoning departments for information on land use designations, permit requests and approvals, and schedules of upcoming meetings relating to development in the area. Subdivision developers should know what's planned in the area, but they can't control what happens on adjacent land. That's a particular concern if you are considering a lot on the outer edges of the subdivision, where today's pastoral view can become tomorrow's strip mall.

When comparing subdivisions, consider how many sites have been sold at each. A market absorption plan discloses how long the developer thinks it will take to sell all of the lots and the number of yearly home sales needed to meet that projection. Buyers typically don't want to build the first home in a subdivision or select from a handful of leftover lots when a subdivision is almost full. Look at surrounding developments with comparable characteristics for an indication of how the subdivision is performing in relation to its competitors under current market conditions.

When the Price Is Right

PriceKnowing whether you're paying too much for a lot or getting a bargain is difficult to determine. As a general guideline, buyers in a subdivision should expect to pay roughly 15-20 percent of their home's value for their lot. However, in some markets, this guideline may not apply. For example, a subdivison with the only available lots in a popular school district can command a higher price than a similar subdivision located elsewhere. Lots within a subdivision should be similarly-priced and only vary based on the individual characteristics. Views are probably the most important factor in determining a lot's value. Another major factor is topography. A gently sloping lot is ideal for a walk-out basement, one of the most popular features in today's homes. If the lot is flat, buyers have limited foundation options. Likewise, a severely sloping lot restricts design choices and might provide little usable backyard space. Remember that wooded sites, though highly desirable, may involve extra development costs.

When you do your homework, choosing the right homesite is a much easier task. But remember that even the best site has its pros and cons. The right lot is often a compromise. It's important to keep your options open and to understand exactly what you're getting as you narrow your selections and finally settle on a lot that is best for you.

Better Homes and Gardens

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