New Construction Homes

Rebecca Drive New Construction HomeWhen you decide to build a new home, it helps to understand that there are a two different paths that you can take to reach that goal.  First you need to decide if you will be building on a stand-alone lot, or in a community.  Building on a stand-alone lot will involve purchasing the lot, usually with cash as it can be difficult to get a loan for vacant land.  Then, after you own the lot, you can use the lot as a down payment on the construction loan for the new build.  There are many difficulties and hidden expenses when taking this path but none that can't be overcome. Some of the considerations with building on your own lot include the terrain, grading, wetlands, subsurface conditions, tree removal, access to utilities, utility tap ins, permits, zoning, oil, gas, and mineral rights, and finding a builder that builds on stand-alone lots.  When you build in a community that was already developed, these issues are already investigated and handled.  Lets take a closer look at some of the important considerations you must investigate before purchasing a lot that you intend to build on.

Sometimes when you are looking for a nice private, secluded lot to put your home on, it is easy to overlook how important the terrain is.  Especially if you already have a home plan picked out.  Depending on your home plan, it may require a high side lot or a low side lot to accommodate the plan regarding the access to the front door, walk out basement, attached or integral garage and the orientation of the garage being a front, rear, or side access garage.  If you don’t properly match the lot terrain with the home plan, you will run into issues and extra costs related to grading.  Grading always requires permits from the municipality, county, and/or state.  There are strict rules regarding the careful removal of soil, especially from hillsides which require careful removal of soil and tree removal which can affect the stability of a hillside.  Special attention to the grading degrees, geogrid, and other means of support must be considered to avoid causing instability.  Prior to grading, you must assure that there are no wetlands that will be disturbed requiring special attention, inspection, and permits from the DEP and other entities regarding wetlands.  One of the most overlooked potential issues are the sub-surface conditions which can include unstable fill, expansive soil, natural springs, and mines at unsafe depths which can require grouting.  Grouting projects involve drilling a series of boreholes into the mine voids and filling those voids with a concrete-like mixture. This mixture hardens into pillar-like formations that support the mine roof and greatly reduce the likelihood of future subsidence events.Another expense that is easily overlooked in the process of buying a lot is the utility access, installation, and permits.This is a big one as it includes water, sewer, electric, and gas.  If these basic utilities are not nearby, this could end up being one of the largest costs involved with building.  There are strict rules associated with how the trenches for these utilities must be dug, how deep, and typically require separate trenches for each.  If the distance to the proposed house is significant or if the terrain is not conducive for digging the trenches, it will be a huge expense.  If there is or was an existing home where you are building, it is easy to assume that these cost will be minimal but beware of old corroded water or gas pipes, crushed or root filled terracotta sewer lines, and other unseen issues requiring the installation of new lines.  You could substitute oil tanks for heat, drill wells for water, and install on-lot sewage disposal systems but again, beware of local ordinances, required permits, and special requirements governing the type of systems allowed in any particular municipality.  The costs associated with all of this is high and increasing all of the time.  Finally, it is important to know and understand the disposition of the oil, gas, and mineral rights.  This is a very complex topic and it is always recommended that this be investigated by an oil, gas, and mineral rights attorney, especially if these rights are not conveying with the land.  If there are leases already in place, there are many important questions and considerations that need to be known about any surface rights or other access issues that the lease holder may have rights to.  Builders that build on your lot include Schumacher Custom Homes, Wayne Homes, K. Hovnanian Homes, Parry Customs Homes, Costa Homebuilders, and others.

What I have outlined here is why the cost of building in a planned community is so high.  The developer has to consider all of this, apply for permits, meet with governing agencies, mitigate any and all issues, properly grade and install lots and roadways, utilities, water retention basins, and provide the end user with buildable lots with the assurances that everything has been handled.  These costs are all rolled into the price of the lot in a developed community.  You may have to a lot premium depending on the size and topography of the more desireable lots in a planned community.  Builders that build exclusively in planned communities include Foxlane Homes, Ryan Homes, Heartland Homes, Maronda Homes, Dan Ryan Builders.

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