You’re shopping for the perfect place to build your luxury home in the Hill Country. If you haven’t purchased a lot before, the thought of buying a raw tract of land can be intimidating. Buying a lot or acreage tract is different that buying an existing home but similar rules apply to both transactions.
Here are some issues you may encounter when selecting your lot. Knowing what to look out for and what to avoid can help you through the lot buying process.
Don’t go it alone
One of our highest recommendations would be to select your custom builder and involve them in your lot selection process early. Their local knowledge and experience can save you time, trouble and a lot of money down the road. An involved builder will help you perform cost analysis and comparison between the different lots you are considering.
Know WHERE you are buying
Find out which permitting authority controls the land you are considering. Is the tract located within the city limits? Is it in the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) of a town or city? Is the property zoned? When considering a planned subdivision, your lot will most likely be subject to an additional set of covenants and deed restrictions that further regulate what you can build on your lot. Your subdivision may require an architectural review of your building and landscaping and limit your construction to certain architectural styles. In most subdivisions, a homeowners association (HOA) will collect dues and set rules for behavior and decorum in the development. It’s important to understand what an HOA will require of you as a homeowner and member.
Are all utilities on your lot now? If not, you’ll need to find out who will provide you with those essential connections and at what cost. If any of those essential services are not in place, rest assured that it will cost you money to bring them to your location.
Access can be a complex issue when you’re purchasing a vacant lot. In cities, access is rarely a problem. In the countryside, rural tracts of land could be cut off from a public road and be accessible only via private road. This can introduce a number of problems. If your land isn’t accessible via public roadway, it might not have access to city water or sewage. You could end up requiring a septic system and a well to handle those basic utilities, which will add to the construction costs.
A public road guarantees a route to a vacant lot at all times. But when private roads enter into the equation, things get complicated. If your property is landlocked, you may require an easement to guarantee access to your property.
A new or updated survey will identify any easements that may cross or effect your use of the property. No permanent structure can be built over a utility easement.
Setbacks and building envelopes
Lot size can be misleading if there is a relatively small building envelope after setbacks and easements are known. Know what percentage of your land is “buildable” before selecting your lot.
If you want to break ground without breaking the bank, be sure to consider the topography of your lot. Our beloved Hill Country has no shortage of breathtaking views. Those rolling hills can present quite the financial challenge when uneven terrain must be terraformed to support your home’s foundation.
Does any part of your building envelope fall within the 100-year floodplain? This can lead to significant additional costs and considerations when designing and building your home.
Don’t go it alone
Engage a custom builder and involve them in the process of selecting your lot early. Their local knowledge and experience can save you time, trouble and a lot of money down the road. An involved builder will help you perform cost analysis and comparison between the different lots you are considering.
I bought the lot, now what?
Jenkins Design + Build is ready to assist. Contact us even before you close on the lot so that we can answer any questions you may have.