If you are looking to build your own luxury custom home in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, be sure you are educated on the process of buying land before you contact your favorite custom home builders in Texas.
Have you always wanted to own a little piece of land in the countryside and build your own home? Do you enjoy wildlife and nature, or simply desire more space between you and the house next door? Buying land is a little different than buying a home. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you think through those differences in your land purchase.
1. Interested in a recorded subdivision with homeowner restrictions or unrecorded acreage with permit requirements, jurisdictional restrictions and zoning?
When you buy an existing home or a parcel of land in a planned community or subdivision, someone else has gone through the issues of what exactly is permitted on that land. This list is available to you in writing by the developer or homeowners association (HOA). There are usually restrictions which limit your land use including lists of acceptable landscaping, building materials, colors, sizes and types of structures. However, remember that restrictions don’t just limit you; they also protect you and the value of your land from others’ interpretation of appropriate use. Regardless, you’ll want to read them closely.
If the land is not a part of an organized community, you’ll want to go to the county or other entities with jurisdiction. Local governments can dictate how land within county, city or extra-territorial jurisdiction can be used. They do this primarily through development codes, zoning codes, and building permit requirements. Hiring a knowledgeable and experienced realtor or real estate attorney can also be beneficial in such purchases.
2. Think through your specific land desires and requirements, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want a large lot or several acres of land?
- How much space and maintenance is required for the space you desire?
- Is having wildlife around you important?
- Do you want to high altitude with a view, or be down in a valley?
- Do you prefer deciduous or evergreen trees, natural flora or cleared land with added landscaping? Do you want water on your property, like a creek or pond?
- What kind of drainage does the land have when it rains? In the Texas Hill Country we are often asked about the 100-year floodplain – A standard used by the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Does the property have running water, phone and internet, trash pickup, recycling, electric and gas services available or do you have to drill a well, install a septic system, have a satellite receiver, pay for hundreds of feet of water pipe and use a propane tank for gas?
These basic questions can become a hidden surprise if not explored before your purchase of land.
3. Does this land fit your home building needs?
Once you narrow down your basic preferences for a parcel of land, seek out land that fits these requirements. Then, take those selections and ask more specific questions:
- Is there a building site on the property that you like, accessible for building a home or a driveway?
- Is the back of the home where you spend your outdoor time, facing the setting or rising summer sun? Will the home get hit by northern winds or can it be oriented to capture the south easterly breezes in the Texas summer?
- Can a pool, well, or septic system be easily installed in this specific terrain? What kinds of maintenance will you have for this particular site?
Consider creating your own checklist of questions to ask when considering specific property.
Having facilities and retail establishments you need nearby is another consideration in buying land. What initially appears to be a great piece of land upon which to build your dream home later becomes less appealing when you realize how far you might be from your daily tasks. Depending on your life style, things to consider might be school districts, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, banks and any routine shopping centers you visit. Do you frequently use recreational facilities such as golf courses, swimming or equestrian centers? These might also be things to consider.
5. Taxes, titles, land values, property boundaries and financing.
Finding tax rates can be as simple as contacting the county tax assessor. However, sometimes more than one entity can tax a property, so do your homework. Finding comparable land sales can be more complicated because of the variations and uniqueness of particular sites. However, an experienced realtor who regularly deals with such land in the area can be of great assistance. Professional surveys are used to determine boundary lines and the current owner may have one to provide. Unimproved land can sometimes be more difficult to finance than built homes. Many people find larger parcels of land are financed by sellers. If you’re planning on building a home, you may be able to take out a short term, interest only loan until the home is started, then roll the rest of the money into a construction loan.
Belvedere on Hamilton Pool Road is an upscale community of luxury custom homes built on over 443 acres, with 80 acres of nature preserve. The community is “designed to be environmentally sensitive and be a positive steward to our land.” The available home sites are 1-3 acres in size. Rain water harvesting is practiced as well as many other environmentally conscious building practices. Installing native landscaping around your custom luxury home in Belvedere often enhances its natural setting. If this sounds exactly like what you’ve been searching for, you can learn more at (insert website here).