Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm
When searching for a lot to build a home upon, most buyers envision their new abode in an idyllic spot. However, many neglect to consider whether or not that location is ideal for the type of house they wish to build.
"Sometimes you’re looking at a lot and it looks really nice, but it’s the worst lot for the kind of house you want," said Mike Lawrence, general manager of Kenosha-based MasterCraft Builders Inc.
For example, Lawrence points to the large ranch houses that are becoming increasingly popular among baby boomers. With decreasing lot sizes, the grade of the property becomes very important.
"If you’re building on a flat lot, that’s OK, but if you’re building a ranch that goes deep into a sloped lot, you might have to dig out a section or put in a retaining wall," Lawrence said.
Consumers should consider several things before selecting a lot, Lawrence said, including:
• What kind of house are you looking to build?
• Where are the services such as gas and electric located on the lot?
• Is there a place where a driveway could be created?
• Is there an open area within the trees, or will an area need to be cleared for the house?
• Is the lot sloped? What kind of expenses will an uneven lot add to the type of house you wish to build?
It is important to show a builder the lot before purchasing it, Lawrence said. The builder will be able to help the buyer pinpoint potential problems with the property and identify extra costs that may be incurred during construction, he said.
"We are able to tell the potential buyer if the house he desires will work with the lot, and give a rough estimate as to how much lot improvements will cost," Lawrence said.
Such estimates are, however, still uncertain, Lawrence said.
"We try to assess [the lots] visually, but it’s real hard until we get a survey back," he said. "We usually do [a survey] before we go in for building permits, so I can sit down with the customer again and discuss what we’re seeing with the elevations."
Most off-site lots don’t have a grading plan that builders can study ahead of time to identify problems with the lot.
"We’ll get it pretty close, but until we get a survey, it’s hard to be exact, because you can only see so much. The visual gives us an idea ahead of time – if we need to build in money for trucking dirt, going deeper for garage walls, that kind of thing. You know what to look for after a while," Lawrence said.
Where the Homes Are
Number of homes for sale with price tags of $2 million or more
Kenosha County 3
Walworth County 37
Waukesha County 25
Milwaukee County 4
Ozaukee County 2
Washington County 2
Racine County 0
Sheboygan County 0
Small Business Times, October 14, 2005