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Knowing What You Can Build on Your Lot

September 15, 2020
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Many people think that buying a lot is as simple as picking a place you want to live and signing on the dotted line. This guide will help you maximize your budget and understand best practices that will help you get the lot you want and, eventually, the home you want. 


Step One: Initial Lot Check


We can’t stress enough the value of talking to your builder as early as possible – ideally before you buy. 


That’s because an experienced builder will quickly help you ascertain if the type of house you want will work on the lot you want. You will learn about area restrictions and guidelines, additional expenses dictated by the area, or potential hazards. 


At Classic Homes, we simply need an address to do an initial lot check. This will include reviewing county and state zoning and environmental regulations that will dictate what kind of house you are allowed to build on that site. We’ll provide you with initial guidelines: home width, height and depth allowed for that lot. This will allow you to narrow down home styles that will fit on your lot and make a choice: 1) Proceed with one of the many home plans that will fit on that lot, perhaps customizing one of our plans that you really like or 2) Look for another lot that will accomodate one of our other home plans you like.


Step Two: Review Plans


During your initial review you’ll discuss floor plans with our sales team. This is another important step that should happen before you purchase a lot. That’s because not all lots will easily accommodate all ideas. For example, if you chose a lot that is flat as a pancake, that walk-out basement you have your heart set on may be significantly more expensive – or impossible to build. Or if you’ve always wanted a third story but the area you’re considering has a more stringent height restriction – you’ll be stuck. Many people are surprised to learn those restrictions can vary from street to street! 


The great news is, whether you bought the lot before you came to us, or let us help you find one, we’ll be able to customize a home to your preferences. At this point, you are not locked in to anything. This is an exploratory process where you have the opportunity to make choices based on your home dreams and the budget you have to make them happen. At Classic Homes, we want you to achieve the most with what you have – whether you build with us or not, you will go through this process with no charge.


Step Three: Lot Feasibility Study


After we’ve assessed that  the lot should work for your needs, it’s time to engage a Civil Engineer for a formal Lot Feasibility Study. Our team can refer you to the same engineers we use (for the same prices) or you are welcome to choose an engineer you know. Either way – this is an essential step in the homebuilding process. Your engineer should do a title search and look for restrictions and encumbrances that would prevent you from building. There is nothing worse than owning a lot you can’t build on. 


Experience Matters


One final tip: make sure you work with a company who is highly experienced. If you had an important surgery, you wouldn’t choose a young surgeon who had only done a few procedures. You would choose a surgeon who has seen it all – so if something goes wrong, they can lean on a trove of experience to solve the problem as quickly and painlessly as possible. Choosing a builder is no different – you want someone who has seen it all. 


 We can’t guarantee there won’t be surprises. There is no way to find out ahead of time that a giant boulder is buried 5 feet down in your lot. The difference is how your builder handles it. Anyone can come up with an idea to get a boulder out, but an experienced builder knows the fastest and most cost-effective way to do it. Classic Homes’ senior management team each has an average of 30 years of industry experience. We do everything we can to prevent surprises, but when they do come, we know how to handle them. That’s the kind of partner you want when you’re building.


Ready to get started on your lot evaluation? Contact us to get started!


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