How to buy the right land to build your dream home
By simply looking through hundreds of properties as they are, whether online or by visiting them, is NEVER going to produce your dream home. If you are searching for a home that perfectly aligns with all the features you want you may end up disappointed; there will always be some compromise to make.
There are plenty of decisions to make when planning your dream home – chief among those is where to start. As the old adage goes, there are three things that matter in property: location, location, location. So, one of your first tasks will be to acquire the land for your new home.
In the inner suburbs Melbourne its almost impossible to find a vacant land, you almost always need to knockdown and rebuild an old home on a great block of land. Purchasing an old home on a the perfect block means investing in a blank slate with countless possibilities. It’s a great way to secure your future with all the bells and whistles attached, so it’s important to understand what the process entails. Here are some details to consider when acquiring a lot to build your high-performance home.
Finding a design and build home builder
Partnering with a builder early on in the property acquisition process can save you a lot of time and effort. Builders can often see the potential in a land and identify what needs to happen in order to make the property ready to build. If a builder is familiar with your local area, you may be able to tap into their knowledge of the local property market.
Working with a design and build builder up front can also prevent any delays during the permitting process, which varies in complexity depending on the size and scope of your new home build. An added benefit is that you’ll be able to develop a great working relationship with your builder long before construction starts.
Choosing a location for your dream home
Location is paramount, whether you’re buying a block of land to knock down and build your dream home or your next stage home. You’ll first want to make a list of what’s important to you: Are you interested in living the city life, or would you prefer a more rural environment? Maybe you’d like to be close to a school district or amenities like grocery stores and shopping centers. Another detail to factor in is your daily commute – are you OK trading on location for a potentially longer drive to work?
There are a few paths you can take to find your dream lot. Websites like RealEstate and Domain are great for starting your search online. Then, scout around in person by driving around your desired area to take stock of what homes are available. We recommend working with a local realtor who is familiar with the area.
Planning your land purchase
Once you’ve found the right location to build your custom home, construction will be subject to restrictions based on whichever council oversees it. So, it’s important to conduct due diligence when purchasing a vacant lot. The council can provide flood-zone boundaries as well as whether an easement might exist on the land. Next, seek local water and sewer departments to check whether lines go through the property.
Properly researching and understanding the zoning restrictions and permitting requirements surrounding your plot of land is key to determining whether it is the right site for you and your family. Not only should buyers scope out the zoning for their lot, but they should also consider how the surrounding neighborhood might change.
Fortunately, this is where working with a builder early during this process will come in handy, as they’ll likely already have contacts who can get you the information you need. The right builder can also help you evaluate your options and make recommendations.
Check the land's accessibility
Accessibility is key for a number of reasons. These include ensuring trucks can access the site easily during construction. Another great reason to get a builder involved early to help you find the right block of land.
Consider time and cost to build
The next step in our list focuses on budget. Those who hope to buy land should research and understand each potential expense involved in preparing the land. They should also consider the time it might take to process each report. Time to approve permit requests, clear the land and other preparatory work before construction may commence should also be considered. These costs include purchasing the property and covering any fees associated with getting it to a ‘developed’ state (eg demolition costs).
This usually includes surveying the property, conducting soil tests, clearing the land, and (in some cases) bringing in upgraded utilities.
Building on a slope is certainly not impossible, it can come with a number of complications. These can include everything from susceptibility to floods to access difficulties during construction. Construction can be more costly and utilities might be complex to hook up. In our "building of a sloping block" article we outline everything landowners should know about sloped lots.
Getting a good value on your dream lot
While purchasing land for your dream home can be an involved process, it’s highly beneficial for homeowners who have a clear vision not only for their dream home, but their dream property. It’s also a smart investment that will stand the test of time. Above all else, you’ll want to ensure that the land you purchase is a good value and will work for all your needs.
Contact Carmel Homes
With over 30 years of experience, Carmel Homes is one of Melbourne’s leading luxury custom home builders. We pride ourselves on the quality of our finishes and are committed to creating bespoke spaces that are equally beautiful and liveable. For more information on our services or to set up your complimentary design consultation, contact our experienced team today.