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Regular Visitor
brownnugen
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-15-2013
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Purchase land and build?

Just wondering what is the process if you were to purchase piece of land in Northern Virginia and want to have a house built on it. it is just a piece of land, with no existing house on it. The land is not very deep an backs to wetlands/water. Who would be a good resource to determine if the property is suitable for a house? What permits are required to build and how much does it typically take to bring in utilities (water, sewage, power, etc) to a property?

I don't really know what else I should asking but if you have suggestions on what I should be thinking about, I would appreciate your thoughts. I have not purchased anything yet an just want know if it makes sense to go this route.
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Goldilocks
Posts: 105
Registered: ‎10-28-2011
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The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

The first step might be do visit the county municipality to meet with a rep. They will pull records with/for you and determine if there are any obvious incumbences that would prevent you from errecting a home (drainage, ROWs, easments, etc.). 

 

While you're there, determine whether municipal services are available (water and sewer). If so, get the costs (called a "tap" fee) which generally start at 14K.  If sewer is not available, you'll need to hire a soil consultant to determine what septic system is appropriate, the cost of which (that is, the system) could vary greatly (from 6K-23K). If needed, the cost for a well is more stable (4-8K), unless the installer runs into a lot of hard-to-obliterate rock, such as limestone.  You should also contact the local internet provider(s) and private trash servicers to see if they will service the property.

 

Permits will run a few thousand (depending on the county) to get started and upwards 15K total. 

 

There will be basic excavation for pouring your foundation (several thousand) and more if you are pouring a basement.

 

I'm assumming that you don't need tree clearing for the house of driveway (if so, it's very expensive). 

Regular Visitor
brownnugen
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-15-2013
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Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

Goldilocks,  thank you for your reply.  I forgot to mention that there currently are other new houses very close on the street, so I believe internet and trash shouldn't be an issue. 

 

I should add that I currently live in Michigan (military) so I would have to do all of this over the phone or email. 

-Nick

 
Regular Contributor
Goldilocks
Posts: 105
Registered: ‎10-28-2011
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Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

[ Edited ]

Okay, Nick, Mexperience has been that MOST people who build (in areas where there are existing, comparable  housing  options) and are NOT rich regret their decision (forgive me for assuming that you're among the 85% of people in greater DC who aren't rich). I'm also assuming that you haven't built before?

 

It's easy to fall in love with a lot in a great location -- I know. But building a house is costly (driveway, decent trees, grass!$!$!). Also, a good many of newly-built homes have issues well after the builder has been paid his final check. And warranty work is for the birds!

 

In most cases, it just makes sense to buy a home that has 80% of what you're ideally looking for and just remodel. if you want to be really smart, you'll spread the remodelling over a few years.

 

Thanks and good luck!

Regular Visitor
brownnugen
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-15-2013
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Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

You're correct in that I am not amongst the top 15% in the area. I am moving to the area this summer and haven't had much luck finding affordable housing within 15 miles of DC with good schools that I can afford. I am hoping more houses come onto e market in the next few months.
Regular Contributor
Goldilocks
Posts: 105
Registered: ‎10-28-2011
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Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

[ Edited ]

Just curious, why 15 miles? Why not 20 or 25? You know, there's a HUGE pricing premium attached to the Arlington/Fairfax areas.

 

But if you must, have you closely followed Falls Church/Annadale, VA?

 

A little further out, how about Damascus, MD or Chantilly and Centreville, VA? Each have some older neighborhoods that are more value-priced...

 

Unfortunately, I don't see value-priced inventory improving any time soon. As a result, rents for desirable areas have rocketed a good 20% in the last two years. 

 

I know what you're going through. It took me three years of hard work to find the right opportunity.  

Regular Visitor
brownnugen
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-15-2013
0

Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

I wanted to be within 15 miles of DC (Anacostia specifically) because I wanted to commute by bicycle to work and 15 miles seemed about the right distance.  I lived in Woodbridge previously and commuted by carpool, slug, combination bus/metro, etc and just accepted that as what everyone did.  I was grumpy coming into/home from work.  After living in Michigan and biking to/from work year-round, I realized how much more enjoyable it is. 

 

It is my goal to be able to continue that and I will keep looking.  Unfortunately, this seems to be very difficult to find a house that will allow me to do that (that meets my family's needs and my budget). 

sev
Contributor
sev
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎05-04-2012

Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

If you have a piece of property in mind, let me know as I can do some research for you on it or point you in the right direction as I just went through this whole process and found it cheaper to buy a piece of property with a house on it versus land. Especially if you are going to have financing on it, as banks will not finance land deals right now unless you put 40% down (minimum). 

Redfin Senior Agent
philip-gvinter
Posts: 553
Registered: ‎05-18-2010

Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

I think a good place to start may be to find a local small builder who does one or two houses at a time and see how much they  charge for the type of house you want (size/general floor plan/number of rooms) and than look for either a lot or an existing house which could be knocked down. 

 

The builder should be able to handle a lot of the paperwork for you and you can get in touch with Sandy Spring Bank to get some information on their construction financing which they will offer with 10% to 20% down.

Philip Gvinter | Redfin | Listings DC Team Lead
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Visitor
Soccerguy985
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎01-22-2013

Re: The first step might be do visit the county municipality...

Just FYI, when I looked at this option it was 20% down at Sandy Spring and Wells Fargo. Not that many people do construction loans anymore, and builders may only deal with certain lenders. I looked into this option extensively, and the biggest unknown of all was the site development, especially if you are not in area that can hook up to sewer. That means you have to pay for a septic system, well, driveway, leveling the lot/grading etc etc. It starts becoming really expensive. It is great if you have time, can handle delays, and cost overruns, but in the end you get exactly what you want. The 20% down was not just for the land, but for the home to. Let's say you can find a parcel at 200k, build a house for 250k, and 50k for site development and permits. Thats a 500k house that you need to put 100k down for. If you are serious about it, I would talk to a lender first and make sure you can meet whatever the construction loan requirements are (changing all the time)