Pick­ing Your Prop­erty

Timber Home Living - - Annual Buyer's Guide -

The lo­ca­tion of your home will af­fect ev­ery­thing, from the cost of the land to the home­own­ers in­sur­ance to the even­tual re­sale value of your home. Once you’ve nar­rowed down your search to a few po­ten­tial sites, think about these things be­fore sign­ing on the dot­ted line.

You need to know the lay of the land to plan your home right. Is the ter­rain suit­able for the style of home you want to build? A site map will ex­plain the traits, ben­e­fits and chal­lenges of your pro­posed build­ing site. If the land is un­de­vel­oped, you may also need a topo­graph­i­cal sur­vey. Your town­ship or county zon­ing of­fice can sup­ply you with in­for­ma­tion about ease­ments, util­i­ties and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tions. The nat­u­ral fea­tures of the land­scape, along with the lo­ca­tion of util­i­ties, should be in­di­cated on the site map.

A re­mote lo­ca­tion sounds ideal, but think care­fully about the dis­tance to ameni­ties. Things like dis­tance to work, school, stores and health­care are im­por­tant to con­sider be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion. Also, homes that are too far from a fire depart­ment will pay more for fire in­sur­ance — a com­mon com­plaint from home­own­ers who have built an ex­pen­sive home far from ad­e­quate fire pro­tec­tion.

The prop­erty should pass a “perc test.” A perc test in­di­cates the soil’s ca­pa­bil­ity to ab­sorb liq­uid over a spe­cific pe­riod of time, and de­ter­mines the size and type of sep­tic sys­tem you’ll need. If it doesn’t pass, you may not be able to build on it or a more ex­pen­sive sys­tem to han­dle waste treat­ment will have to be in­stalled. You’ll also need a source of potable (drink­able) wa­ter. In ru­ral ar­eas, this typ­i­cally means drilling a well. If you’re build­ing closer to de­vel­oped ar­eas and are lucky enough to tap into pub­lic util­i­ties, you can by­pass these steps.

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