Back to Blog
Land Evaluation

Your Land Evaluation at Heartland Builders: Part 2 | Blog

A few weeks ago, we discussed the process of purchasing your desired land, including how our team will evaluate it, and what questions you can ask yourself to make your experience as easy as possible. This week, we’re diving right into your most-asked questions, so you can get a head start on this exciting journey!

Q: Is the land even “buildable”?
A: Ask us to help you evaluate if it is buildable and the costs of building a home on the site. Our professional advice can help you avoid costly mistakes, save money, and make informed decisions.

Q: Is the land suitable for the type of home I would like to build?
A: If you would like a home with a walkout basement, for example, you should select land with a hill that falls away from the front of the home. If you have already selected a home plan, try to visualize it on the site.

Q: Does the land contain any wetlands?
A: If so, you may need special permits to build or you may need to observe certain setback requirements when placing your home on the site. Confirm that the property IS NOT in a Flood Zone or a Designated Wetland.

Q. What is the soil type?
A: Light, sandy soils will give you the best drainage, and are much easier and less costly for septic systems, excavation, and landscaping work. Heavy soils, such as clay, cost more when building. This is good information to know when you are evaluating the costs of one or more sites.

Q: Does the land have access to municipal water and sewer?
A: If the home site requires a well and septic system, DO NOT purchase the land without having the site evaluated by the county health department. We recommend that this evaluation be requested by you, not the seller. If the seller has an existing evaluation, confirm the content of the evaluation with the health department.

The health department must approve a site for well and septic before a building permit can be granted. Once the evaluation is received, speak to a professional that understands the costs to install the well and septic system. A well and septic system are very common and both will perform properly. Yet, their installation costs can vary with the depth of the well and the soil condition of the property.

Q: What do I need to know about the set back requirements required by local zoning?
A: This is the distance your home must be “set back” from the front, sides, and rear of your property lines. Is there enough room on the lot to build and place your home as you would like it? This is especially important if you are considering a site located in a subdivision.

If you are building a home in a subdivision, you should spend the extra money ($500 or so) to have a surveyor stake your home on the site. The surveyor will determine if your home fits and is within all set back requirements and easements. If you are building on acreage, this step oftentimes may not be necessary because the site is very large, but have the site surveyed any time you are in a development.

Q: What about surrounding zoning?
A: Know what property around your home site is zoned. Drive around. See what exists and/or could be built near your home.

Q: What will the property survey show?
A: The paper copy of the survey will show all property corners and define the location of all easements on the property. A surveyor should visit the site and place stakes on all corners of the property.  You want to know what you will own.

Q: What do I need to know about deed restrictions or developer requirements?
A: Ask the seller to provide documentation. This may cover things like square footage minimums or out buildings or materials allowed on the exterior of your home etc.  Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that your home is built in compliance with all restrictions and requirements. Heartland Builders will assist you!

Q: Is the property wooded or an open area?
A: Open areas are typically less costly for building a home. A wooded site, while preferred by many homeowners, is typically more costly when you consider the fact that you will have to remove some of the trees in order to fit your home. But we often tell people, you’re allowed to overanalyze the purchase of land. Once you understand the details of the property, it is okay to simply breathe and say: “I really like it here.”

At Heartland Builders, our goal is always to ensure that your experience is Easy. Fun. Fast(er) than you think — and we do so by making sure that you feel confident and informed every step of the way. Take a look at our Land Evaluation page, and of course, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!