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How to Go About Evaluating Land

As an “on-your-lot” custom builder in West Michigan, two of the constants in our world are that every site we build on is different, and every home we build is unique. Consequently, taking the time to understand the nuances of each site is always the first step in every project. 


Evaluating land is a vital part of any home building process. Here is a list of items for you to consider as you look for land. These items can affect the site improvement costs of your home.


The Land Evaluation Process


  1. Topography. Look at the GIS system online to get a feel for the contours of your land. Check if the neighboring homes have walk-out or daylight lower levels. It might give you insight into what you can do on that lot. Consider if you want a flat, daylight, or walkout lower level.
  2. Soil Conditions. Before you close on your homesite, make sure you get a well & septic evaluation (perc test) to understand the soil, if your lot does not have access to city water/sewer. 
  3. Trees. Determine how much clearing, if any, is required.
  4. The Driveway. Think about how long it will be. Where will your home be located on the property?
  5. Utilities. Find out if the property has natural gas near it. If not, you will need to consider propane, electric furnace or geo-thermal. Find out if it is well and septic or city water/sewer.
  6. Deed Restrictions. Read them, they matter! Find out if the neighborhood has any restrictions that will affect your home.
  7. Municipality Requirements. If you are on a tight site, determine what your building envelope will be. 


When you have your land picked out, get in touch and we’ll check it out online for you! There are some conditions that are beyond our control, such as the depth of your well and the soil conditions. We will do our homework to understand what may exist underground and provide you with allowances that we believe will cover the cost.


Please also know that we will be happy to answer any of your questions as you search for land. Contact Alex and alex@heartlandbuilders.com for more information or to schedule an appointment!