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If you are going to build a house, you will need some
where to put it. Property comes into in many forms.
You can buy an improved or unimproved lot or acreage.
The property can be purchased from a land developer,
a private owner, general contractor or a farmer.
- Building lots can have various stages of improvement.
A fully improved lot will usually have the following
improvements: curb, gutter, sidewalk, electricity,
sewer connection, gas, telephone and communications
cable. An unimproved lot will have no improvements.
Generally the city
or county will set the minimum improvements that must
be in place before construction can begin. When searching
for lots remember that the city may require the owner
to install (at the owners expense) improvements as
a condition to obtaining a building permit. For example,
if an lot doesn't have curb and sidewalk the city
may require that they are installed.
Cities and counties have planners and that create
zoning maps and ordinances. The zoning map specifies
the type of building and the use of the property.
Typical zones are residential, commercial and industrial.
Within each of these classifications are sub-categories.
For residential, sub-categories would include single
family residential (SFR), Multi family residential
(MFR), and High density Residential (HDR) Most houses
fall into the single family or multifamily residential
zones. High rise apartments and condominiums are built
in high density residential. If you are unsure of
the zoning of a property, check with your local planning
commission or building department.
The three most important factors that determine the
value of a property are... location, location and
location. Once you have determined your property budget,
you are set to shop for a lot.
Realtors can give you a complete list of the properties
for sale. The list can sort the prospective properties
by asking price, location, lot size, zoning and other
- Many times a property is not listed at
all. The owner hasn't listed it and has no immediate
plans to sell. Drive around a look for vacant lots
or undeveloped properties. You can find out the current
owners by checking the county records department and
contact them directly.
Often friends and neighbors hear about a property
being sold before the owner decides to list it. Get
the word out to friends and family in the area that
you are looking for building property.
(For Sale By Owner) often property owners will sell
their property on their own, to avoid the real estate
fee. Check in newspapers and real estate magazines.
Often good deals can be found.
Contractors and developers will often sell off some
of their lots to owner builders. Often, the least
desirable lots will be the ones for sale and for a
There are many factors that make a location desirable.
Here are some factors to consider:
Proximity to elementary, middle and high schools,
religious institutions, shopping and business districts
Average cost of houses in your neighborhood. Houses
that are priced near the median range in your neighborhood
will sell easier and appreciate faster.
Grade and configuration of Property. This will determine
the size and style of house that would be practical
to build on the property.
Covenants that limit style, color and building features
of the homes in the area.
to railroads, land fills, toxic storage sites and
fuel storage sites.
Is the property located on a flood plain?
Is the property located near a fault line?
Are electrical power lines located on or near the
Are there any easements which restrict the placement
of the house on the property, or affect property
Is there a neighborhood association?
Distance from busy streets, highways, freeways,
What are the soil conditions?
Is the property located in a sensitive soil area
as classified by the building department or by local
What was the property used for before it was developed?
Has an environmental study been performed on the