Project Dream Home | You're a Land Owner, Now What?

So, you bought land. Now what? You may think you've done the hard part, you found the land you want, you got approved, you purchased it and now you're ready to build your house. Well... kinda. You will have some out of pocket expenses to take care of on your own before you actually get your construction loan and start building. So, don’t think just because you bought your land that you don’t need to have more liquid cash, because you do. There are a few other out of pocket costs that you’ll need to budget for.

1. Land Survey

2. Architect

3. Engineer

Most of your other costs can be included in your construction loan once you get it. And, you can always pay more costs out of pocket if you choose to do so. But, you should be prepared for at least these three things.

The first thing you need to do is get your land surveyed. Sometimes this is done for you already, if a previous owner had it completed. If that's the case, you're lucky as all the work and the cost has already been taken care of. If not, then you need to complete this before you can start designing your house, as your architect will need this information before they can start working. Check out a few different companies to get your land surveyed, depending on where you are located. I found about $1000 difference in price between the two companies in Mammoth that offer this service. So, it's good to shop around as this is pretty basic stuff that should the same across the board.

What does it mean to get your land surveyed? Good question. One of the main reasons to have your land surveyed is to establish your property lines. When building, you need to follow the strict guidelines set forth by your town for set backs (how far back from the street you can have a building). This is one thing the land surveyor does, he marks the property lines so you can see where your land begins and your neighbors ends. Then you know to follow the set back for your town (or neighborhood) that you’re allowed to build your house and garage. This is important information for your architect when they start drawing your plans. Another thing that they do is identify geographic features that affect your property. Is your land on a hill? Is there a slight downslope to your land? These are all things that also need to be noted for your architect so they know how to properly draw your house plans. If your architect plans for a flat lot but you have a slope it will mess up everything. Do you have trees on the property? Where are they? What about rocks? And where are the utility pedestals? All of these things are shown on the land survey.

Once you have your land survey completed, the surveyor will send you a PDF version for you to keep. They will (and should) also ask you who you architect is so they can send them the appropriate file type they need in order to start working. If you don’t have an architect yet, then you can reach back out to the surveyor when you do. Stay tuned for my next post on choosing your architect and share a sneak preview at our floor plan!