Should You Buy And Build On Vacant Land?

If you've been house-hunting for months (or years), you may be growing frustrated at the number of houses you see that seem to fit the bill perfectly minus one major "deal breaker." From houses that reek of cigarette smoke or pet odors to picturesque homes that are too close to a loud and busy highway, overlooking certain glaring flaws can seem impossible.

In situations like these, building your own house from the ground up can be one of the surest ways to guarantee that just about every aspect of your new home is to your liking. However, for many, the process can be so frustrating and time-consuming that it may seem easier to simply "settle" for an almost-perfect home that's already on the market. What should you consider when deciding whether to buy and build on vacant land?

Are You Ready to Make Thousands of Decisions?

If you're envisioning your involvement in the site-built construction process as limited to providing a set of blueprints and letting the builders go on their merry way, you may need to rethink your approach. Even small or simple homes require hundreds, sometimes thousands, of design decisions, from carpet and flooring styles to the placement of lights or electrical outlets. If you're building your own home because those you've toured aren't quite up to snuff, it's likely that you'll want to be involved in these decisions—which can mean dozens of daily interruptions during construction season. There's also a risk that you may not end up liking your own selections once you see them "in the flesh."

Is Your Land Build-Ready?

If the vacant lot or land on which you're planning to build is already electrified and has access to city water and sewer (or a well and septic tank), you're already well ahead of the game when it comes to cost savings. But for other parcels of property, ensuring that your future home will have plumbing and electricity can be an expensive endeavor. Before you purchase land, make sure you've surveyed your potential build site to ensure you'll be able to access utilities; and if you're going to pay out of pocket to install these utilities, it's important to factor these costs into your total budget to ensure you're not blindsided by an expensive surprise.

Will This Be Your Forever Home?

Not all custom homes are "forever homes," but if you're planning to stay in your new home for the foreseeable future, it's a good idea to ensure that it's designed in a way that will grow with you. Meanwhile, if you'd like to sell your home after a while, you'll need to balance your desire for customization with the knowledge that those who want to buy your "used" home may not place the same priority on certain features or design elements.

Learn more about land for sale from a real estate agent near you.