Selecting Your Building Site

Selecting A Lot for New Home Construction

canstockphoto2159854Every person has a different idea of what constitutes ideal location when considering new home construction. For some, it’s a convenient drive to work, for others its quality of life issues such as a good school system and family friendly neighborhood.

Take your time when choosing your new home site. While many details about your new home can be remodeled in later years as your lifestyle evolves, changing the location is not one of them. Consider your lifestyle – is it best suited for an urban, suburban or rural setting?

Finding Your Ideal Building Site

There are several ways to find a home site. One way to find a lot is to purchase a regional map and circle communities where you might be interested in living. Tour the areas marked and be on the look out for lots with “For Sale” signs. Note the location, surrounding area and enough detail that you will be able to remember when comparing it to other sites later.

Not up for a site-hunting mission of your own? Contact a real estate agent who specializes in land sales. An agent can assist you with your search and handle the paperwork when you make a final choice. Real estate agents use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to learn about properties for sale. The agent inputs your criteria such as size, price, or school system and the MLS prints a list of sites that meet those criteria.

Reading local classified ads also may turn up a great land find. As with all potential sites though, investigate thoroughly.

Several SCHBA developer members also may have lots available for sale. For a listing of these developers, please visit our Find a Member section and search for developers.

Once you have a site in mind, you may want to visit the county planning commission or public library for information on zoning, master plans and maps. Most communities our counties today have a master plan or comprehensive plan, which defines the density of subdivisions, size of lots and setbacks (how far from the edge of the lot to place the home). Reviewing these master plans will give you an idea of what the future holds for the region and whether the home you want can work on the site you’re considering.

Search for building lots on the Sheboygan County Residential Subdivision Map.


Take a Closer Look

If a site has passed your preliminary screening, it’s time to take a closer look. Factors to consider when choosing a lot include costs, legal restrictions, construction issues and hazards.

A traditional guideline to follow when considering cost is that the cost of the finished lot (with utilities available on site) should run about 20 to 25 percent of the total package – house and land.

Another cost to consider is impact fees – the charge for the impact your new home and family will have on infrastructure like roads and community services. Depending on where you build, impact fees can be significant.

Additional details to remember include:

  • Even If you don’t have children, remember that schools can affect resale value.
  • Drainage easements do not always follow property lines. Easements often are determined by tradition or local regulation.
  • Utility companies install junction boxes above ground and you do not have control over where these boxes are placed.
  • If sidewalks are important to you, check on this detail before making a commitment.

Buying the Land

The contract for your land purchase depends on whether you build in an established subdivision or you select an individual site. Contracts for lots in subdivisions normally cover both your purchase of the lot and home. If you work with a custom builder, you will likely purchase an individual site under a separate contract.

When purchasing the lot, use a written contract that specifies the location includes a survey and describes the exact terms of payment. A title search should be performed and title insurance purchased. Congratulations! With you site selection and purchase complete; you are one step closer to you new home.