There are many appealing aspects of building your own home on an existing lot. When you construct a home, rather than buying a prefabricated house, you can take the opportunity to make it into your ideal dream home. This means that you are able to construct a house that suits all of your needs and “must-haves,” while also being the perfect fit for your aesthetic sensibilities. 

Of course, the building itself is only a part of the equation that makes your dream home. Many people are just as invested in finding the right plot of land on which they can build the house. If you don’t approach this process in the right way, you might find that your home building dream takes longer, costs more, and causes you unnecessary stress! There are a lot of questions that you need to ask yourself when building a home, and those decisions can be confusing to work through if you don’t have help. 

That’s why we put together this simple, 6-step guide to how you can find the right existing lot and build your dream home on it!

1. Understand your needs

Before you make any decisions, you absolutely must understand what you need in a home and plot. The best way to do this is to look at your current home and document what you do and do not love about it. 

Have you outgrown your current home and need more space? Then you should keep in mind how much square footage you will want, both for the house and for your land. Do you hate that your current home doesn’t have enough flat land for the yard that you want? Make sure you address that concern when trying to find the right lot. 

It’s important to know what you need before you start your search in earnest. By keeping these needs in mind throughout the entire process, you will be able to eliminate a lot of the unnecessary stress and wasted time that plagues many people. 

Once you have a list of what you are looking for in a home and lot, then you are ready to move on to the next step. 

2. Decide on an area

Location is hugely important in real estate — and that’s true when you are building a home, too! Not only will it be important for your daily commute and determining local conveniences, but certain locations will not have any lots available that match what you need. 

For instance: if you are looking for a home in one of Washington DC’s hot neighborhoods, you might have some trouble finding a lot that has a huge space for a yard. Conversely, a piece of land in nearby counties of Virginia or Maryland might be more suited for your needs, but be farther away from your workplace. If you are looking for where to live if you work in Arlington VA, as another example, then you will find many varied communities that could suit your needs.

There’s no right answer of what should be most important to you when deciding on an area to build. The only rule is that you should remain flexible and open minded. When speaking with an expert about where you want to construct your home, you might find out that the perfect lot is in an area that you hadn’t even considered!

With that in mind…

3. Speak with a Real Estate agent

You might be asking yourself: “Why would I need a real estate agent? I’m not buying a house, I’m building one!”

The truth is, working with a high-quality real estate team or agent is just as important when building a home as it is when you are buying one. Not only will your agent be able to put you in touch with the right professionals when it comes time to build, but they are also invaluable in the process of finding and purchasing your existing lot. 

All of the struggles that come with trying to buy a home by yourself are only exacerbated when trying to win a plot of land on your own. Especially in competitive markets — like our locality of the DC/Maryland/Virginia area — you will face a lot of stress and wasted time if you don’t work with an agent. 

Your real estate agent will help you narrow down the search based on your needs and desires. Once you and your agent have found the right lot, they will show you how to craft a compelling offer so you can beat out any other bidders in a competing offer scenario and win the plot!

Before you close on the land, however, you might want to take these next few steps.

4. Speak with a home builder

If you are planning to build your home on a pre-existing lot, it’s a good idea to speak with a home builder about what you can expect. Each builder has different specifics when it comes to payment, time frame, and style preferences, so make sure you set clear expectations for the process. 

Before you meet them, make sure to learn the questions that you should ask a home builder. Not only will these questions help you determine whether the home builder is the right fit for your dream, but it will shed light on some of the hidden costs that come with building your own home. 

Although you can certainly do independent research to find a home builder that you like, your real estate agent will likely have a list of groups that they have worked within the past. Make sure to ask them to introduce you!

5. Learn about your Zoning and Costs

Before you close on a plot of land, take some time and look into how the lot is zoned. If you don’t take the time to research the zoning laws, you might run into nasty surprises during the construction process — increasing the time and money cost of your new home. 

You also will want to look into some of the “hidden costs” that accompany home construction. These fees, which include things like Home Owner Association fees, the costs of preparing the land for construction, and potential property taxes. 

Luckily, you don’t have to do all of this on your own. Your builder and real estate agent will be able to help you discover these zoning laws and potential costs. They might even be able to show you how to save money with innovative tax breaks for home owners!

6. Find and Close on the Lot!

If you have taken all the above steps, then this last one will be shockingly simple. Your real estate agent will be able to help identify the perfect lot based on your needs and ideal location. Once you have verified that the zoning laws are favorable and the costs of preparing the land for construction are not excessive, all that’s left is to close on the lot.

Like any home purchase, there is a chance that you will get into a bidding war on the lot. This is more common in areas that are seller’s markets, but it is possible no matter where you are. If that happens, you will be overjoyed to have the right real estate team on your side!

Working with a top-notch real estate team, like the Keri Shull Team, can save you thousands throughout the process of finding and winning your lot and putting you in touch with the best custom home builders in Northern Virginia and the surrounding Washington DC Area! From the time and money saved during the search to the savings at the closing table, having a good agent on your side is key to making the process as easy and stress-free as possible.

If you want to learn more about how you can work with one of the nation’s top teams to build your dream home, then you need to contact the Keri Shull Team today! Our home construction experts are standing by to help you — all you need to do is click here and schedule a time for a free, no-pressure consultation!