Episode 2: Why you need a study period before you close on raw land
Congratulations, you have successfully contracted on a piece of raw land! Now what? It’s time to hustle and use your negotiated study period to verify if you can do all that you want to do with the land that you have purchased! In our situation, the dock is already in place as is a bulkhead! The listing advertised deep water access; however, we needed to verify the water levels ourselves. We hired a local fishing guide with a depth finder to take us around our docks to verify water levels at low tide. We boarded the boat at 6am in order to do this as this just happened to be low tide for the day. We were thrilled to see ample water at the dock! One big hurdle checked off. The next step was to find out if we had public water and public sewer. We learned that there was a tap into the public sewer system; however, we would need to drill a well on the property and that would also require additional permits for the well. We called several well contractors and learned the cost of the well and that the area had great water supply. So far looking really good! We contacted the electricity supplier and confirmed easy access to electricity. We learned that the street did not have natural gas, bummer. So we dug deeper. We learned that there was natural gas on the neighboring street. The gas company advised that they would be willing to bring natural gas into the street from the neighboring street, especially if others on our street would be interested in natural gas. We contacted the HOA President and he reached out to the neighbors on our street to share this potential. Most of the current homeowners were interested in bringing in natural gas, so many calls and emails later, it looks like we will be bringing in natural gas! Yay! If we weren’t able to bring in natural gas, we would have looked into propane as a fuel source. Surveys and flood delineations needed to be completed. This determines the approvable building envelope and height of the structure to avoid flooding. Also, we needed to interview and find a builder in the area. We interviewed 4 builders. Some of the builders were recommendations from our agent, others I found online. I read reviews, looked at websites, and Facebook pages. As I said, we met 4 builders at their offices and talked to them about our goals for building a home. All the builders I felt were solid builders with good reputations. 3 out of the 4 builders did new build and renovations. One focused only on the new build. Our timing found us in competition with many renovation projects from storm damage from Hurricane Florence. All 4 builders were backed up and very busy. 3 out of the 4 were doing major repair work from hurricane damage. This was challenging for us, as we wanted to start building within 90 days. Some of the builders were needing 6 months to a year before being able to schedule our project. We looked at several homes that the builders completed, and found one builder in particular that was able to share with us several homes in various stages of completion. We were most impressed with him and we ultimately hired this builder. For reference, we found our builder on Houzz! To date, he’s been great!! One thing that was helpful, we asked the builders to provide us with a fair expectation of their custom building cost per square foot. This helped with our budgeting. We researched building restrictions and HOA covenants and restrictions. We did a soil test to determine how solid the soil was and if and if we would need to build on pilings and if so, how deep we would need to drive the pilings. We turned over every major stone so that we would not be stuck with a piece of property we could not use to our specifications or satisfaction. We also reached out to the neighbors so that we could begin an amicable relationship with them. We were happy enough with our findings during the contract’s study period that we closed on the land and hired our builder. Our process continues! I have to say, we were fairly lucky that our parcel was so straight forward. In episode 3, I’ll share with you our home design process!
Follow our journey through the process of buying land and building a new home by following the Lifestyle & Experience Section of my blog.
I hope through sharing our journey it will help many more families consider buying land and building their dream homes!
There are land opportunities in Northern Virginia. Steve and I would be happy to help you make a raw land purchase.