Genesis Land Procurement

International Real Estate

New York, New York 10022

Tel: 212-758-2222 / Fax: 212-832-0426

Choosing Land or Property To Build
Choosing Land or Property carefully can save money, time, disappointment and possible DISASTER… Courtesy of EZ H Kits

…already purchased or own your land or property? There’s still some great insights and info here!  

Following is a list of 17 major areas that you should consider using as a checklist when searching for, or buying, lots or acreage - almost every point can have a significant impact on your building project's final cost, value and your personal comfort. Please, send us a note and tell us if you find this article useful, interesting, or...

  1. Building Codes, Permits...Find out all you can about the local and regional building codes, permit processes, etc. Some areas make it a living nightmare for potential home building projects to get started or completed, and it's better to know what you're getting into BEFORE you purchase (if possible).
  2. Controlled site prep costs... Site prep can be a snap and minimal expense or it can double the cost of your property and building project! Determine what will be required for utilities such as telephone, gas or electric to reach your building site. What about water and sewage disposal? Will you need a well? How deep and how much? What about a septic tank? Will there be a need for an expensive filtering system? Are there a lot of trees? If so, do you have to conform to any special environmental regulations in removing them? Can you sell them to a sawmill or lumber company in exchange for removal/clearing costs or even a profit? Are there hidden rocks or boulders that will stop you when trying to build, or install amenities such as a pool or deck?
  3. Foundation costs could be astronomical... What kind of foundation will you be using? Is concrete readily available, or does it cost a small fortune to get it into your site?  
  4. More room to live... As we pointed out, you can get maximum "bang for your building dollar" by choosing and building a home design that allows you to build up or build down rather than outwards. Now is a good time to take advantage of that principal. Try to find a piece of property that offers a sloped building site. With the slope, you can just add a walk-out basement with living space and even a garage. Is this an important point for building your home? You be the judge - the Average Starting per-square-foot cost for a walk-out basement is $10 a square foot!
  5. Contractor or other labor availability... Are you going to use contractors for any of the building process? Are there plenty of them in your immediate area to select from, and are they readily available for YOUR projects? Believe me, you haven’t seen expensive until you’ve had to pay for the labor AND the housing or living expenses required when bringing in a good crew from a distance!
  6. Disaster or crisis support... What are the fire, police and other life support availabilities and/or response times in the area where you’re building? Aside from the obvious need and advantage of having access to these critical services, your insurance rates will be astronomical or non-existent if these services are poor or non-existent!
  7. Oops! You just lost flexibility... What easements for access, utilities and any other purposes exist? Do you realize that an easement usually restricts or denies you the ability to build a pool, storage cabin, outbuilding or even future home additions on it? If you have a Realtor, insist that they discern and disclose any easements and the accompanying restrictions. If you’re on your own, research, investigate, then double check and be certain you have the answers you need!
  8. A whole new world and lost value... Will there be any future construction by adjacent or nearby lot owners, or by your city/county that might affect either your view, privacy, OR home value ­ can you imagine what construction of a power or pumping station, or possibly a microwave tower could have on the salability or value of your property?
  9. There's no space left to live... Review the shape of your lot or acreage. How will your choice of a home fit on it? Find out what your approved setbacks are and using these, get some help plotting your potential home’s footprint on a map of the chosen building site… Look at the backyard, side yard and front yard distances from the house to the property lines. This analysis can also tell you how much space you have for boats, recreation vehicles or even an RV. Don’t forget that you also want to see how large a space you’ll have for your deck, courtyard, patio, or even privacy!
  10. We're under water... Is the land or property in a low-lying area? If so, what is the potential for flooding from higher ground or homes in the future? Even a remote chance of a once-in-a-lifetime major flood may be too much ­ insurance aside, how do you get paid enough from insurance to replace precious photographs, mementos, etc.?
  11. Forest fires... Apply the same criteria as flood potential above to any potential for forest or other uncontrollable fires. Remember, once is usually enough to destroy your life’s treasures.
  12. Buying your neighbors' homes... While we’re on the subject, how will your land or property site drain? Remember, if the property lies on an elevated area, it is quite possible that you can be held liable if your lot's grading causes low-lying homes to flood in heavy rains. You must determine FIRST and early on where the water goes, how it flows, and how the swails are arranged to avoid this phenomenon.
  13. My land is falling... Does the property have a slope that needs to be shored up? If so, how does it need to be treated? Redwood? Concrete blocks? Railroad ties? How high are the retaining walls required by your local government regulations (city, county, homeowner’s CCRs)? How much usable yard will you lose? Get someone to explain slope ratios to you, and what requirements they will demand you meet.
  14. Our highway home... What do you know about present ­ or future ­ traffic flow around your property? How much traffic will be passing your home site daily, and at what times of the day? Do you have small children? A corner lot can be treacherous when cars start whipping around the curve. And, if there is an existing ­ or future ­ heavy traffic flow, it may dramatically affect your family’s lifestyle. Ever tried working or reading/relaxing with a constant hum of car engines, squealing tires and brakes, fire engine or police sirens? Do you like flowers and other delicate landscaping? Wait till you see what a constant deluge of carbon monoxide does to their ability to grow ­ not to mention the nasty buildup of black exhaust smoke that makes your home’s siding or paint job look disreputable by the end of a year.
  15. Park down the street... What about any driveways or access roads? You need to review the building site carefully, to determine how steep your driveway will need to be in relation to your chosen or necessary building site. If you’re a Cadillac driver, or you have a lot of visitors, you won’t want the slope to be too steep ­ it won’t be fun trying to get vehicles safely into their nest after a bitter snow or ice storm renders the driveway slippery or accessible only to the most hardy 4 wheel driver!  
  16. Let the sunshine in, or not... What direction will your home face if placed on the likely building site? If you have already chosen your home design, then you can study the home’s floor plan and where the sun rises and sets in relation to the rooms. Does the direct sun shine on the front of the house in the mornings or afternoons? If it’s hot in the summer, the direct sun shining into an area you don’t use much during the day, such as the bedrooms, could be a blessing for your comfort OR for the cost of any air conditioning requirements for daytime high-use areas. Are you planning a pool? If so, how long, and at what time of day, will the sun hit the pool location area? Will it be shining brightly when your family uses it most? Finally, what effect will the sun’s orientation have on your home’s overall energy efficiency?
  17. A view that can't be seen... Plan ahead for what each of your key windows will overlook. By knowing ahead of time the home you want to build, you can choose a lot or acreage that allows you to take advantage of any available views. Conversely, if you've already purchased your lot or acreage, you can identify the building site, then design your home and window layout accordingly...

Does all this sound overwhelming? Do you feel you might want to avoid all this and just buy an existing home or villa? Forget it ­ you should be reviewing almost all of these issues for an existing home purchase ­ most of the same problems can affect you!  Most people don’t, and later face expensive decisions and problems when the difficulties arise.

Take the time needed to get complete, thorough answers to these questions. The choices you make may make a huge difference in your own family's comfort and well-being and affect your future property value.

Vacation Home offers are subject to prior rental or sale, Owner reserves the right to reject any and all offers to competitive buyer/renters and reserves the right to resign offerings. We believe the specifications of the homes offered to be true and accurate, however no warranties or guarantees of any kind are expressed or implied. It is the express responsibility of the buyer/renter to deal directly with the Owner. Genesis Customer Service.

Please contact us via e-mail or at 212-758-2222 & 845-353-5451.

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