Buying Land & Building a Home: Before you spend much time looking for land to buy, first do a little research to find out what costs and steps have to be taken before the actual construction. You may decide it is worth more to buy an existing home and make personal modifications. Many first time home builders think you just buy a lot and get some building permits and start building. Not so, there are a number of steps and issues one has to consider before applying for building permits.
When buying land, you need to check the zoning to see if a home can be built on it. If it is zoned for residential, one must consider if it can be hooked up to sewer and water or is capable of supporting a septic system and well. Septic systems generally cost $5,000-$10,000. Wells can cost $15,000-$40,000, depending on the depth, location and the need for a secondary pressure tank. Building in an unincorporated area usually requires a secondary pressure tank for the required interior fire sprinklers. Then there is the cost of bringing in other utilities such as electricity, propane tanks and phone lines. Certain areas in the area require a “Perk Test” to determine if the site is suitable for the required septic system. This involves digging a hole and waiting a few days to determine if the ground water rises to the point where a septic system would contaminate it. This test can only be done during the rainy season. Grading a lot can be a major cost of building a home. Many lots are priced seemingly low because the high cost of grading and site preparation in order to build. Obtaining a loan on land is not as easy as getting a loan for buying a house. Buying raw land, lenders typically require 50% down usually with a shorter term and a higher rate of interest. Once these steps are taken the next stop is the local planning department.