Finding a lot to build on is simple right? 

Not so fast. First of all please understand I am not putting down sellers, or Realtors, but I have seen it happen time and time again, sellers relay incorrect information to the Realtors and or buyers such as, "utilities are on the lot" or "the lot is ready to build on" when it is anything but. A while back I signed a contract to purchase a lot and during the process the seller stated that the sewer was available to the lot, and you guessed it I found out different. 
During the due diligence period I found out sewer was available to the lot but only after I installed a $20,000 lift station! Fortunately I found this out early enough and was able to get out of the contract and renegotiate it. Let the buyer beware. The following is a checklist, and a to do list. Hopefully you have found this article before you have actually purchased your lot, as some of the items below are best done before the actual purchase of a lot.
  1. Assess your financial situation and obtain mortgage pre-approval, to set your building budget.
  2. Narrow your search to areas within 10% to 15% of your target price.
  3. Start developing a list of what you must have, what you would like, and what you do not want in your new home.
  4. You can select a builder at this point or at any point in the future and he can help guide you through the process.
  5. Is the lot in a development that has conditions and/or restrictions on what and how you can build?
  6. Do these conditions raise the price of your new home out of your price range?
  7. Is the lot of sufficient size to hold your home with all the setbacks intact?
  8. Is there public water, and sewer on the property and within close range of where the house will be built?
  9. Are electric and gas service on the property and within close range of where the house will be built?
  10. Are the soil conditions suitable for building a home?
  11. If needed is the lot of sufficient size and are the soil conditions conducive to a septic system?
  12. Is it in a floodplain, are there wetlands?
  13. Were there any buildings previously built on he site?
  14. Is there anything buried on the land?
  15. Define the build-able area of the lot
  16. Select an architect to design your new home
  17. Share your budget and list of wants with the architect.
  18. If you have not selected a builder, you should do so now.
    1. Talk to friends and ask for referrals
    2. Drive the area you want to live or where you own your lot, looking for builders.
  19. Be open and honest with your builder, share your budget, and time frame.
  20. Communication is the key to any building project, make sure the builder you select has good communication skills.

This list is by no means all inclusive, it is a starting point and a general guide, to get you thinking.

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