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Finding Land to Build On

By: Vicki Connell

Finding a lot is a big decision in the home building process. Most of us look at "finding land to build on" in terms of price, size, or maybe even view; but there can be a lot more to it than meets the eye. Below are my Top 5 Tips for choosing your lot to build on.

Get your builder involved.

Once you’ve decided on the general location in which you’d like to live, narrow it down to your top 3. It's a great idea to have your builder take a look at the properties as well. They look at it with a property development perspective; they consider the things that will play into the overall cost of your home, like the excavation, amount of imported dirt needed, the type of grading and drainage plan needed, etc. If it is a sloping lot, there is a good chance you will need a more extensive grading and drainage plan that may require retaining walls.

Know where the utilities are.

You want to locate where the utilities and the sewer are on the lot, unless you are considering having a septic system. If your lot is below street level, it is very important to know where your sewer stub out is. Are the utilities stubbed at the street? If not, how far away are they? If all these items are identified before you begin building, you and your architect will be better equipped to design your house.

Is there an HOA and what are their requirements?

Many communities, especially in Arizona have a Home Owner’s Association. HOAs vary greatly on their requirements and fees. The realtor you are working with should be able to get you a copy of the CC&Rs, monthly or quarterly fees, and design guidelines for custom homes. Many HOAs require you to pay a review fee and may have other aesthetic requirements that will play in to the cost of the overall build.

Is a Soils Test recommended?

Anytime a lot has questionable soil or seems very rocky, it may be a good idea to get a soils test done. Soils tests give recommendations for the type of foundation as well as let the excavator know the likelihood of a “hard dig”. Most of the time whenever someone is hired to dig, whether it be excavation, foundation or plumbing, there is an extra charge when the dig requires additional equipment.

If you have a sloping or hillside lot, get a topography!

A Topography gives you a detailed description depicted on a map of the elevation or “drop” in a piece of property. It also identifies natural washes and other elements to take into consideration when placing your home on the lot. This information is needed for a Grading and Drainage plan and can also provide useful information to the architect. You can choose to design your house to fit the lot versus the other way around. Walk out basements or courtyards with retaining walls can take advantage of natural slopes in the earth.


Take a look at our "New Build in the Desert Series" where I give you a behind the scenes look at my personal home being built and the steps it took to get it completed Click Here

Watch the process of "Finding Land to Build On" below

If you are considering building a custom home, give our office call Castle Rock Homes

(623) 935-5004


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