How to Build Your Own Home – Lesson 2 – The Building Lot – Part I

Because it’s easier to find or design a house plan for a given lot rather than find a lot that suits a specific house plan, I recommend you buy your land first, before you acquire any plans.

A. Where You Need To Look For Land

Once you know the size home you’re going to build, you have an idea of where you should be looking for land. You want to build your home in an area where homes are of comparable size and value. In rural areas you will see all kinds of weird stuff. You’ll see a $600,000 home next to a $60,000 home or a mobile home next to an estate. As you get closer to a city or metropolitan area, you’re going to be regulated by zoning laws and/or covenants in a subdivision. These zoning laws and covenants will normally dictate the minimum size home you can build. Even in areas with no zoning requirements, the price of the land will determine the size home you will build. For example, you wouldn’t build a $50,000 home on a $200,000.00 lot. You could, but that wouldn’t be financially wise.

Note About The Appraised Value: If you are building a home for resale, you need to be acutely aware of what it will sell or appraise for in a given area – before you purchase the lot.

B. How To Find A Lot

1. Real estate agent or broker

In most cities a real estate agent or broker can provide you with a list of many available lots for sale in your area.

2. Local newspaper

Your local newspaper is a good source for locating lots for sale by an owner.

3. Free publications

There are free publications in many areas where individuals will list a lot for sale.

4. The Internet

The Internet is providing more and more bulletin boards where individuals can advertise a lot for sale.

5. Land Developer

You may be able to purchase a lot from a local land developer. If you do not know the difference between a builder and a developer, let me explain.

A developer is an individual who will buy raw land, clear it, install the sewer lines, gas lines, water lines, and streets, and then sell the developed lots to builders. Sometimes the developer is also the builder.

When the market is booming, a developer could go into a room full of builders and choose whom they will and will not sell to. But here’s the deal -the developer may require a chosen builder to purchase a minimum of five lots. The builder may want in the subdivision, but may not want to start five homes. You could ask this builder if he would sell you one of his lots. I have bought many lots from other builders this way. The only way you’re going to know if the developer or builder will sell is to ask! When the market is slow, most developers, anywhere in the country, would probably be more than happy to sell you a lot.