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Land Evaluation

When you take the first step toward building your dream home, your journey typically begins with the search for the right piece of land. One common assumption that people make while searching is that they can build their dream home on any land, as long as it’s for sale as a lot. Unfortunately, this is incorrect, and the wrong land purchase can end up causing quite a few problems.

Since its inception, Custom Homemakers has been a greater Fredericksburg, VA, and other counties' reputable homebuilding company. While our company has built its fame of excellence on custom-built homes and renovating existing homes, our land development services are critical to the success of your dream home.

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There are many factors that can affect not only whether a lot is buildable but whether the lot is the right choice for your particular home-building needs. We have had clients in the past come to us and say, “I have this beautiful lot, and I want you to build my dream home there.” Unfortunately, there are times when the lot they have chosen, even though it was beautiful, they couldn’t put the exact house they wanted on the lot.

Obviously, we want to help you to avoid making the wrong land investment. The earlier you can bring us in on the process of finding your desired land, the better. We enjoy evaluating land and potential teardown opportunities so you can build your dream home. We can also provide site work estimates based on the lot or teardown that we are evaluating.

A few of the areas we will look at…

ZONING REQUIREMENTS

First, we can help you navigate the zoning requirements in the town you want to live in.  Some important considerations include limitations on how large the home can be or what the floor-area ratio can be.  There also are setback requirements that dictate how far your home needs to be from the edge of your property line.

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UTILITIES

Checking out utility availability can also make a big difference later on, especially since some utility options can be more expensive than others in the long run. Depending on the location, your water will come from city water or well water.  If your property requires a well, we can look at surrounding wells to figure out the availability quantity and water. We can help determine the costs involved if your home will be connected to city sewer or will require a septic system.  Septic systems work great but typically cost much more than tying into city sewer. When it comes to wired utilities, we will evaluate electrical, cable, and telephone lines coming into your home.  We can help determine if they can be underground or if they have to be overhead and the costs involved to connect to them.

DRAINAGE

The last thing anyone wants is a flooded basement or a muddy puddle in your yard as large as a pond.  This can become a major issue if land contours aren’t considered at your potential building site. We will help ensure the topography of your land slopes away from where the house will be placed so rainwater can drain in the right direction. We also will look at your soil’s water table and what the percolation rate is, which is how fast the soil can absorb water.

  

We help evaluate the possibility of using a gravity footing drain or a sump pump to aid with drainage. Ideally, we want gravity-fed drainage systems.

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We strive to help guide our clients’ decisions based on the potential flooding issue.  Should the new houses end up being in a flood zone. We work with FEMA to make key alterations to the house designs in a flood zone or shoreline. By raising the house foundations and bringing in fill around those foundations, we successfully get homes rezoned to be outside of the flood zone and re-map the flood zone using FEMA’s LOMA application – a Letter of Map Amendment – for that area. This allows the homeowners to have full basements and not need flood insurance.

In short, drainage is a critical component to consider before buying any lot.  We are happy to evaluate the best drainage scenario for your desired lot.

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ESTIMATING BUILDING COSTS & SITEWORK

Choosing the wrong plot of land can suddenly turn an affordable dream home into a money pit.  To avoid that from happening, we can help you estimate what site work will cost on a particular lot.  For example, we will look at:

  • “How much will it cost to dig and backfill the house? 

  • Is there ledge that can affect your building cost? 

  • Is there a high water table?

Those are just a few of the things I look at. Sometimes if ledge is a concern, we may suggest raising the foundation slightly to avoid the blasting costs and rock removal. With that, we can bring in general fills to the landscape around the foundation.

For one of our recent clients, we helped the family save thousands of dollars on the purchase of their lot.  We knew upfront we would need to bring in extra fill to avoid blasting costs, and we got those expenses subtracted from the purchase price of the lot.  

Estimating building costs isn’t an exact science, but turning to a properly experienced builder like Custom Homemakers can make a huge difference.  We can give you hard numbers on what it will cost to build from the concrete up, but we can’t do that with building costs related to the land.  We don’t know exactly what we’ll find until after we start digging. With land, those numbers can’t be fully set in stone. However, we can still provide fairly reliable estimates when it comes to the site work budget. Most often, we are able to keep our clients within their budget range.

Building your dream home is always an exciting journey, but selecting the right land for that home is just as important. At Custom Homemakers, we understand the many details that must be in place to make the home building process a successful one. We’re committed to helping our customers navigate every decision with ease.

PARTNER WITH THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS

When you’re ready to begin looking at land for your future home, the team at Custom Homemakers is here to help. We’re passionate about helping you live in your dream home! We understand that it can be intimidating to think about building a home from scratch. But when you partner with us, you can rest assured that you have the best professionals in the business on your side.

Our comprehensive approach to land development and custom homebuilding lets us stand out from the competition. From start to finish, we will help you every step of the way.

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