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How to Buy Land to Build a Home

Building a home involves a series of decisions. The first is where to build—and that means you’ll need to purchase a plot of land.

There’s something thrilling about the idea of buying your own piece of raw, untouched real estate on which you can build your dream home from the ground up.

But picking a suitable parcel can prove a bit more complex than you’d think—which is why we’ll cover everything you need to know about buying land. Here’s what the experts have to say about where to find land, how much land costs, and ways to pay for it—plus questions to ask to ensure you pick the perfect plot.

Where to find land for sale

Most real estate websites will list land for sale, and sites such as realtor.com® allow you to filter for this specifically.

The best real estate sites allow you to filter for land sales.

(realtor.com)

But even once you’ve found a piece of property you adore, that’s just the beginning. After all, even though the lot may be your desired acreage and seem like a good investment, if it doesn’t meet the specifications for your intended real estate use, you’ll find yourself with a costly but worthless hunk of earth.

Land listings specify the number of acres, price per acre, and a few characteristics about the plot and its location. Listings also usually include details about whether you can build a home on the land. Still, it’s a good idea to work with a real estate agent who’s experienced in land deals, says Jason Gelios, real estate agent with Community Choice Realty in Detroit.

For one, real estate agents can help negotiate a fair price for the land. They’ll also help you check local zoning ordinances and possible building restrictions. In addition to consulting your agent, Gelios suggests calling your local municipality to find out what you can build on the parcel, and also find out if the property has access to utilities, including electricity, water, and cellular and Wi-Fi access.

“I always advise clients to make sure that a piece of land has a viable access point to utilities,” Gelios adds. “It would be a horrendous issue if this was learned after the purchase, because it could mean that the buyer would have to spend an enormous amount of extra money to provide access to such utilities.”

Other things to find out about the land:

  • Street access: Unless you plan on parking your car on the side of the road and hoofing it to your home, your real estate property must be accessible from a street or road. If the parcel is landlocked, you will need to get an easement across a neighboring property, which means you get permission to pass through the neighbor’s land to get to yours.
  • Setbacks: This refers to how far from a property line a structure must be situated on the vacant land. If you have 20-foot structure setbacks from either side, but your lot is only 50 feet wide, that means your home can be no greater than 10 feet wide. Odds are that won’t work.
  • View ordinances: Some local-view ordinances may place restrictions on your ability to add a second story to your house. A restriction on the type of home you can build could affect your chance to sell it later and cost you money.

Neglect to check these things before buying land, and you might find you’re not able to build there at all.

How much does land cost?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Land Values Summary, an acre of land costs $3,100 on average. But exactly how much you’ll pay for land varies by location, how much it’s been developed already, and a number of other factors.

Keep in mind that, along with the price of the actual land, there will be land development costs, too.

According to HomeAdvisor, the cost to clear land and prepare it to build a home is between $1,281 and $4,705. Developing lightly wooded areas could run $500 to $2,000 per acre, and up to $5,600 for heavily wooded areas. Costs depend on the land topography, how easily crews can get to it, and how much debris there is to remove.

If you have to connect to utilities, wells, or septic systems, the cost could go up $20,000 or more, Gelios says.

“A builder can work with you to estimate how much a project will cost,” says Cyrus Karl, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Newton, MA, and real estate blogger at Pyvt.com. “For example, if one home had underground bedrock, that may mean that many lots in that home’s same neighborhood need costly site work and grading to remove ledge rock. A competent builder should know the problem building areas of a city or town.”

How to finance a land purchase

Financing a parcel of land can be tricky, since it differs from financing a home. Not all lenders offer loans for land, and the type of loan you’ll need depends on whether or not you’ve drawn up plans for the home, says Denny Ceizyk, a mortgage industry expert and senior staff writer of mortgages at LendingTree.

“If you already have the plans and specifications and a contractor picked out to build a home, it makes more sense to apply for construction financing to roll the cost of the land into a mortgage to build the home,” he says. “Or you can get a land loan, and then pay it off when you take out construction financing to build the home.”

There are a few types of land loans.

  • Raw land loan: This is for parcels that are completely undeveloped. You’ll need to provide a detailed plan for how you’re going to develop it.
  • Unimproved land loan: This is for land that has been partly developed.
  • Improved land loan: This is for areas that have been mostly developed and may have access to utilities and roads.

The basic qualifying criteria, including income and credit score, are all the same for land loans, Ceizyk says. “However, [lenders] also scrutinize whether the land is improved or not.

“Improved land typically is ready to build on—with utility, water, and sewage access ready to connect to a home, and graded and prepped to support a residential home,” he explains.

Because lenders see land loans as riskier, they often require higher down payments and offer higher interest rates. Down payments are typically around 20% for land loans, and interest rates may be up to 3% higher than traditional mortgage rates, Ceizyk says.

Failing to budget for the down payment and higher interest rates is a common mistake people make when buying land, Gelios says. “This will lead to a higher monthly payment right out of the gate.”

Construction loan financing with better rates may be available if you already have plans for your home and are ready to break ground.

Whom to consult before buying land

Before purchasing any real estate, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert, like a builder, land surveyor, or real estate agent to help you evaluate whether your investment is a good idea. They can help you figure out whether a certain lot is ripe for building a home on, and how much it will cost.

“I always advise any client looking to have a home built on land to always consult with a suitable builder,” Gelios says.  “Information before you take the leap is crucial to the success of purchasing land and building on it.”

Consider hiring an attorney, too, who understands local building laws and zoning ordinances, Karl suggests.

“Building a home requires sign-offs from many city or town departments, and you want to make sure your plan follows the legal process,” Karl says. “If not, you could get hung up on costly delays, or your project may be blocked indefinitely.”

Building plots for sale in UK

Show sold properties

  • Laflouder Lane…

    Mullion, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7HT

    Guide price £395,000

    • Approved Planning Permission for two designs…Approved Planning Permission for two designs…

    • Panoramic views over open countryside and Mounts Bay…Panoramic views over open countryside and Mounts Bay…

    • Four Bedrooms…Four Bedrooms…

    • Large Open Plan Kitchen/Dining/Living area…Large Open Plan Kitchen/Dining/Living area…

    Building plot

  • Pinecote Drive…

    Sunningdale, Berkshire, SL5 9PS

    2,214 sq ft(205. 69 sq m)

    Guide price £1,350,000

    • A detached family home in need of updating…A detached family home in need of updating…

    • Driveway providing parking for several cars…Driveway providing parking for several cars…

    • Well screened by mature trees and hedging…Well screened by mature trees and hedging…

    • Good degree of privacy and seclusion…Good degree of privacy and seclusion…

    House

    2,214 sq ft (205.69 sq m)

    5Bedrooms

    2Bathrooms

    3Receptions

  • Mill Road…

    Great Bardfield, Braintree, Essex, CM7 4QQ

    1,380 sq ft(128.21 sq m)

    Guide price £1,850,000

    • Approved planning permission for a substantial family home…Approved planning permission for a substantial family home…

    • Approved planning permission to convert an existing barn to a two bedroom dwelling…Approved planning permission to convert an existing barn to a two bedroom dwelling…

    • Further range of outbuildings…Further range of outbuildings…

    • About 18 acres of grounds and gardens resting on the banks of the River Pant…About 18 acres of grounds and gardens resting on the banks of the River Pant…

    Bungalow

    1,380 sq ft (128. 21 sq m)

    2Bedrooms

    1Bathrooms

    4Receptions

  • Hale Road…

    Swavesey, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB24 4QP

    1,999 sq ft(185.71 sq m)

    Guide price £1,000,000

    • Grounds extending to approximately 4.5 acres…Grounds extending to approximately 4.5 acres…

    • Offered to the market with no onward chain…Offered to the market with no onward chain…

    • Located within reach of the village amenities…Located within reach of the village amenities…

    • Two detached barns…Two detached barns…

    Bungalow

    1,999 sq ft (185.71 sq m)

    3Bedrooms

    1Bathrooms

    3Receptions

  • Nizels Lane…

    Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent, TN11 8NU

    3,100 sq ft(288 sq m)

    Guide price £1,000,000

    • Superb opportunity to build a contemporary home…Superb opportunity to build a contemporary home…

    • Attractive plot with scenic rural views…Attractive plot with scenic rural views…

    • Planning Ref: 21/01833/FUL…Planning Ref: 21/01833/FUL…

    • Delightful semi-rural location…Delightful semi-rural location…

    Building plot

    3,100 sq ft (288 sq m)

    4Bedrooms

    3Bathrooms

    4Receptions

  • Land To The Rear Of De Winter House…

    Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1DZ

    2,597 sq ft(241. 27 sq m)

    Guide price £600,000

    • Rare opportunity to build a contemporary home…Rare opportunity to build a contemporary home…

    • Superbly located plot…Superbly located plot…

    • Full planning for a detached 5 bedroom of approx. 2,597 sq ft.…Full planning for a detached 5 bedroom of approx. 2,597 sq ft.…

    • Sevenoaks station approx. 0.2 miles…Sevenoaks station approx. 0.2 miles…

    Building plot

    2,597 sq ft (241.27 sq m)

    5Bedrooms

    4Bathrooms

    3Receptions

  • Beaufort Park…

    Lisvane Road, Lisvane, CF14 0SG

    2,787 to 2,787 sq ft(258.92 to 258.92 sq m)

    Guide price £1,050,000

    • Our new sales office is now open by appointment only – contact us to book yours…Our new sales office is now open by appointment only – contact us to book yours…

    • Superior specification and attention to design for optimal modern living…Superior specification and attention to design for optimal modern living…

    • Premium contemporary and traditional kitchen styles with featured appliances such as wine cooler and induction hob Images used are computer generated and/or for illustrative purposes…Premium contemporary and traditional kitchen styles with featured appliances such as wine cooler and induction hob Images used are computer generated and/or for illustrative purposes…

    • Luxurious bathrooms, including multiple en suites with pristine ceramic wall tiling from Porcelanosa…Luxurious bathrooms, including multiple en suites with pristine ceramic wall tiling from Porcelanosa…

    New development

    2,787 sq ft (258. 92 sq m)

    4Bedrooms

    4Bathrooms

    2Receptions

  • Chapel Lane…

    Wingfield, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 9LP

    1,700 sq ft(157.94 sq m)

    Excess of £300,000

    • Desirable village location…Desirable village location…

    • Open views…Open views…

    • Off road parking…Off road parking…

    • Development opportunity…Development opportunity…

    House

    1,700 sq ft (157.94 sq m)

    1Bedrooms

    1Bathrooms

    1Receptions

  • Bulstrode Park…

    Oxford Road, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, SL9 8SZ

    106,000 sq ft(9,847.72 sq m)

    Guide price £6,000,000

    • Planning permission for hotel use (C1)…Planning permission for hotel use (C1)…

    • 38.9 acres…38.9 acres…

    • Easy access to central London and Heathrow Airport…Easy access to central London and Heathrow Airport…

    • Includes ancillary residential accommodation…Includes ancillary residential accommodation…

    House

    106,000 sq ft (9,847. 72 sq m)

  • Warren Drive…

    Kingswood, Tadworth, Surrey, KT20 6PY

    7,500 sq ft(696.77 sq m)

    Excess of £1,500,000

    • Building Plot.…Building Plot.…

    • Prime Kingswood Location.…Prime Kingswood Location.…

    • Planning Permission for 7,500sqft.…Planning Permission for 7,500sqft.…

    • Existing 3 Bedroom Chalet Home.…Existing 3 Bedroom Chalet Home.…

    Building plot

    7,500 sq ft (696.77 sq m)

  • Mope Lane…

    Wickham Bishops, Witham, Essex, CM8 3JP

    2,798.62 sq ft(260 sq m)

    Excess of £795,000

    • Mope Lane: one of the most sought-after country lanes to live in Essex…Mope Lane: one of the most sought-after country lanes to live in Essex…

    • Award-winning architects: sustainable features…Award-winning architects: sustainable features…

    • Wickham Bishops: very desirable village and community…Wickham Bishops: very desirable village and community…

    • Opportunity to create a beautiful and ecologically rewarding large garden…Opportunity to create a beautiful and ecologically rewarding large garden…

    Building plot

    2,798. 62 sq ft (260 sq m)

  • Strawberry Hill Road…

    Twickenham, TW1 4PT

    Guide price £3,000,000

    • Substantial plot…Substantial plot…

    • Potential for redevelopment of separate dwelling…Potential for redevelopment of separate dwelling…

    • Currently used as student housing…Currently used as student housing…

    • Ample off-street parking…Ample off-street parking…

    5Bedrooms

    3Receptions

  • Spectra Apartments…

    2 Spectrum Way, London, SW18 4GE

    631 sq ft(58.62 sq m)

    Guide price £450,000

    • Double Bedroom…Double Bedroom…

    • Bathroom…Bathroom…

    • Open Plan Living/Reception Room…Open Plan Living/Reception Room…

    • Second Floor…Second Floor…

    Flat / Apartment

    631 sq ft (58.62 sq m)

    1Bedrooms

    1Bathrooms

    1Receptions

  • Hilliard Road…

    Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 1SL

    0. 07 Ac(0.03 Ha)

    Guide price £375,000

    • Carpenter’s workshop / yard…Carpenter’s workshop / yard…

    • Prime residential area…Prime residential area…

    • 0.6 of a mile to Northwood station…0.6 of a mile to Northwood station…

    • 0.8 of a mile to Northwood shops…0.8 of a mile to Northwood shops…

    Building plot

    0.07 Ac (0.03 Ha)

  • Inchlonaig Island…

    Loch Lomond, G63 0JU

    182 Ac(73.65 Ha)

    Offers over £995,000

    • *VIDEO FLYOVER AVAILABLE*…*VIDEO FLYOVER AVAILABLE*…

    • Historic Loch Lomond Island extending to 182 acres in all…Historic Loch Lomond Island extending to 182 acres in all…

    • 2 bedroom bothy…2 bedroom bothy…

    • 3 derelict bothies…3 derelict bothies…

    House

    182 Ac (73.65 Ha)

    2Bedrooms

    1Bathrooms

    1Receptions

  • Priory Close…

    Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 3HW

    1,594 sq ft(148. 09 sq m)

    Guide price £2,750,000

    • Plot of land to redevelop…Plot of land to redevelop…

    • No onward chain…No onward chain…

    • Gated and private road…Gated and private road…

    • Build your own bespoke home…Build your own bespoke home…

    House

    1,594 sq ft (148.09 sq m)

    3Bedrooms

    1Bathrooms

    2Receptions

  • Land At Pancrasweek…

    Holsworthy, Devon, EX22 7JZ

    1.83 Ac(0.74 Ha)

    Excess of £275,000

    • Full planning permission granted for two, three bedroom holiday cottages.…Full planning permission granted for two, three bedroom holiday cottages.…

    • Idyllic rural setting yet conveniently located close to amenities…Idyllic rural setting yet conveniently located close to amenities…

    • Mains water and electricity available on site subject to connection fees…Mains water and electricity available on site subject to connection fees…

    • In all about 1. 83 acres…In all about 1.83 acres…

    House

    1.83 Ac (0.74 Ha)

  • High Street…

    Toseland, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 6RX

    5.65 Ac(2.29 Ha)

    Asking price £1,650,000

    • Fantastic development opportunity with full planning…Fantastic development opportunity with full planning…

    • Set within approximately 5.65 acres…Set within approximately 5.65 acres…

    • Surrounded by open countryside…Surrounded by open countryside…

    • Three individual plots within the planning…Three individual plots within the planning…

    Building plot

    5.65 Ac (2.29 Ha)

Regions

Number of bedrooms

Property types

Types of land for building

Today you can buy land of any area, everything depends only on financial opportunities. However, is the generally accepted standard (optimal size): plot area = house area x 10 . Of course, this is not a strict rule, but it is with this ratio that it is possible to comfortably, without piling up, place both the house and additional buildings.

Pros and cons of small plots

Advantages :

Relatively easy site maintenance;

ease of planning;

low costs for landscaping;

savings on the arrangement of the fence.

Disadvantages :

small distance between the walls of the house and the fence and neighboring houses;

the complexity of placing additional outbuildings;

not every house project will fit on a small lot;

low level of silence and privacy (neighbors see everything).

Advantages and disadvantages of large plots of land

Advantages of :

the possibility of placing the necessary outbuildings and household buildings;

a wide range of house designs;

scope for landscaping;

a reliable investment (the price of a house on a large plot is high).

Disadvantages :

high land price;

labor intensity and high cost of maintenance;

Significant costs for landscaping and aftercare.

Land plots for building a house are square, rectangular and asymmetric (irregular shape). Therefore, the choice of the project of the future house depends on the geometric shape of the land.

Optimal for the construction of a private residential building is a square plot . It is on it that you can place the house and all the necessary buildings and communications conveniently and practically. Most modern house designs are suitable for a square plot, nothing prevents buildings from being correctly oriented relative to the cardinal points, and the wide possibilities of landscape design will help to ennoble the site without much effort.

Rectangular plots impose some restrictions. Firstly, , you will have to carefully select a house project (or invest in an individual one), since the width of such a plot directly affects the size of the house and its location relative to the borders. Secondly , there may be difficulties with the orientation of the house to the cardinal points, so that the sun often looks into the windows. Obviously, when approaching a window opening, you will most often see neighboring walls, and not natural landscapes.

Asymmetrical plots of land are the least desirable for building your own home. This is primarily due to the fact that any shape other than a square imposes its own limitations, primarily on the design of the house and the planning of additional buildings. And as a result, it leads to a general rise in the cost of construction. However, each lot is unique in its own way and may be exactly what you need if you are planning to build an unusual house or a house in an unusual place.

Our company is ready to find you a land plot that meets all your requirements and preferences.

Building land

Building land in the suburban real estate segment is sold in several basic options, which differ in cost, necessity or freedom from a contract, availability of communications, remoteness from Moscow and major cities, and direction. It is obvious that the most accessible land for building are plots that are not supplied with gas, electricity and water. Plots of land for adjustment without a contract, that is, without obligation to use the services of attached contractors, are very popular. It is these plots that are provided by the Invest-real estate company.

Building plots

Another important issue when buying land for development is the owner of the territory. The process of acquiring a land allotment from the state (represented by the municipality) is a difficult and time-consuming undertaking. Not even attracted by the relatively low price. Buying from a private person or company is much easier. The most reliable companies have a special legal department that helps in the registration of the purchase and sale of land and provides comprehensive information and legal support. Therefore, turning to a large company, you can do without going through the authorities and draw up all the necessary documents in one place.

In addition, buying plots of land for development is more profitable than ready-made housing or plots with erected buildings. It’s no secret that the cost of a plot with a house can be several times higher than the land and the cost of the house separately. In addition, land without buildings suggests that the owner can build whatever he wants, according to his own plan. Calculating the possibilities of your budget, taking into account its limitations and distribution for a certain, sometimes long time.

Buy building land

Buying land for building today is not a big deal. Numerous owners are ready to provide land plots without a contract, it remains to make the right choice based on the offers of companies, the cost of plots, the area of ​​​​location, the availability of communications and much more that needs to be taken into account before making a deal. It is also necessary to clarify the category of land that you plan to acquire, and consult with a lawyer on all issues.