Checklist: How to Find the Perfect Land for Your Custom Home

Location. Location. Location.

That triplet has been uttered for decades and for good reason. Location is immensely important in our lives and perhaps no more so than when choosing land for your home. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a lot to begin building a house and those can range from proximity to work or school, proper plumbing or electrical connections, zoning regulations, or the very layout of the land itself from trees to soil conditions. It can be quite a lot to think about, but the good news is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to find that perfect lot, and we’re here to help guide you along the journey.

Whether you’ve already found the perfect home and are now searching for a place to build or you want to first find a piece of land and decide on floor plans afterwards, we have you covered. Schumacher Homes offices have a dedicated land specialist available to help future homeowners select and obtain the perfect piece of land for their home. Click here to schedule a meeting with one of our New Home Consultants who can put you in touch with one of our land specialists.

Fun Fact: 53% of our homeowners come to us without land.

For those inspired to get the search started before your first meeting with one of our land specialists, we’re going to lay out some basics here so that you can begin the hunt. First, we’ll lay out some options on where to look for land, and secondly, we’ll set you up with a bit of a checklist so that you know both what to look for and when to be weary.

WAYS TO SEARCH FOR LAND

  • The Internet – Sure, this may seem obvious, but there is a reason for that. The internet is quite honestly a great place to begin your search. Real estate focused sites like Zillow, Landwatch, Realtor.com, Lands of America, or Trulia, just to name a few, allow for specific searches and list more than existing houses. Just be sure to choose “land” as the search topic in their options for “property type” or “home type”.
  • Local Realtors – Realtors tend to have a focused knowledge of what is available, or becoming available, on their home turf, and this goes beyond physical houses. They typically have first-hand knowledge of lots that are available and often are the first to hear rumors of lots becoming available. Don’t know a local realtor? Our land specialists are just as in touch and will gladly help you in your search.
  • Drive Around – This might sound a bit farfetched. It’s not like you’re searching for buried treasure, but you’d be surprised how often our customers find the location for their future homes this way. If you know the general neighborhoods that you’d consider moving into, spend an afternoon driving the residential streets, as there is often land for sale by owners that isn’t listed on the web.
  • Local Auditors – If there is a particular parcel of land that you’ve noticed hasn’t been developed yet, it never hurts to check the local auditor’s website to find out who owns that parcel so that you can reach out and see if they are interested in selling. As they say, it never hurts to ask.
  • LandGlide – This is an app that you can use while driving around (while safely stopped and pulled over!) to see who owns a particular piece of land that might catch your eye.

There is really no shortage of resources when it comes to searching for land. Don’t want to spend your Saturdays driving in circles around town? That’s where our land specialists come in to point you in the right direction.

CHECKLIST FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT LOT
Knowing how to search for land is only half the battle. The other half is knowing what to look for in a lot of land. There are infinite features that you’ll come across, and no piece of land will be 100% perfect in each and every way. If you follow a few of these tidbits, you’ll be one step closer to a lot that makes you happy and makes the construction process easy going.

Location – This is of course the most important factor in picking the right lot. Be it in your current neighborhood or on the other side of the country, you want to be happy with your new neighborhood, and this can be quite the balancing act. It is incredibly important to determine your priorities and your desired lifestyle when assessing land opportunities. Here are just a few things to begin thinking about, and we’d recommend making a list of what is most important to you and your family to help guide your decision.

  • Proximity – How far are schools? Hospitals? Grocery stores? Parents? Siblings? Your place of work? Bars and restaurants? Highway access? Parks and playgrounds? Etc, etc, etc. Make a list of what is important for you to have nearby, and what you’re willing to commute to if it isn’t in the local neighborhood.
  • Neighbors – This can go both ways and just depends on your particular lifestyle. Is your family the type that wants to live on a street with a number of other houses, or are you the sort who prefers having quite a distance between your home and your neighbors? Do you like the idea of a street where people throw block parties for major holidays and everyone decorates for Christmas, or do you prefer keeping to yourself and living a more private life?
  • Farmland – If you’re looking at space in the countryside, take note if there is farmland nearby. If so, do a bit of research to find out what they grow, if they will be using certain fertilizers or pesticides that can be a nuisance to your family or animals. If you are near a farm with livestock, what sort of noise or odor issues might arise?
  • Plumbing – For those in an urban neighborhood, there likely isn’t much to worry about, but if you’re looking at a more rural piece of land, take note if you’ll be using septic or sewers; city water or well water. These are important notes to have when it comes to designing your home.
  • Modern Conveniences – Does your mobile phone get service in the neighborhood? Sounds silly, but nobody wants to move into their new home only to find out that their phone won’t get any signal. If you work from home, you might want to check what the broadband capabilities are in the area. If you’re sports obsessed, you might want to be sure that you’re preferred satellite TV provider services the area. These are small things, but are important to check.

Zoning Regulations – You certainly don’t want to deal with any red tape when building your new home. It may seem ridiculous, but many counties, even ones that are already heavily developed, can have strict regulations on how land can be used. There can be regulations on everything from what sort of structures can be built (such as having a secondary guest home on a single property, landscape regulations, or height restrictions) to where the land boundaries actually lie and how close your structure can be to that boundary. We’re here to help you navigate the questions and answers.

Lot Conditions – It’s easy to get excited by the idea of a location, but you need to go through your due diligence to be sure that the piece of land will actually work for the home that you intend to build. We’ll list a few checklist items below, but to be sure everything is above water, we offer our homeowners a free homesite inspection where one of our construction managers will come to your homesite and take a look at everything.

  • How do you see your home sitting on the lot? You’ll want to envision the way that your home is positioned on the land. Where is the front door? Where is the driveway? How will the yard be designed? Where will the utility connections reside? These are things our construction manager will help walk you through during their inspection.
  • Is there a lot of site work that will be needed? Are there trees or shrubs that need to be taken down? Are there trenches or rivers that will impede construction?

A clear lot is defined as nothing over one foot high to include grass, trees, bushes, etc. in the area and perimeter of where the house will be placed. When trees and/or bushes are in the location and perimeter where the house is to be placed, they will need to be removed. When you choose the lot for your dream home, you don’t want any unwelcome surprises, which is why it is critical to take a tour of the land. We certainly don’t expect you to know everything, which is why we’re here to help with this process.

Clear Land Lightly Wooded Moderately Wooded

Heavily Wooded

Hire the Best Possible Builder – This should go without saying, but after finding the ideal location, location, location, it’s time to find the right builder, builder, builder.

About Schumacher Homes
Schumacher Homes, based in Canton, Ohio, is America’s largest custom homebuilder, with operations in 32 markets in 14 states across the country. The National Housing Quality award winning company has built over 18,000 homes, customized to fit each family’s lifestyle, since its founding by Paul Schumacher in 1992. Schumacher Homes takes each customer’s inspiration and gives it a home. Each Schumacher Homes location includes a one-stop shopping design studio and model homes displaying the latest in architectural and product trends.  Stop in today, be inspired and receive your no obligation price quote.