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How to Select the Best Lot for Your Custom Home: Expert Advice

Choosing the right lot for your custom home is a critical decision that can significantly impact the overall success of your home-building project. A well-chosen lot enhances your home's design, value, and livability and ensures your investment is secure and sustainable. 

With their three generations of expertise in custom home building, Schaeffer Homes understands the importance of selecting the perfect location for your dream home. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this essential process.


How to Find Land to Build a House

Research and Resources

The first step in finding the perfect lot is thorough research. Use various resources, including the following, to explore available land options.

Real Estate Agents

Engaging a knowledgeable real estate agent specializing in land purchases can provide valuable insights and access to listings that may need to be more readily available online. They can guide you through the nuances of the local market and help identify suitable properties.

Online Listings

Websites like Zillow, Realtor.com and specialized land listing sites offer many options. These platforms allow you to filter search results based on location, size, price and other vital factors. 

Additionally, Schaeffer Homes offers resources to help you find land for sale in Central Jersey, Southern Jersey, Delaware and Southeastern PA. Our extensive network and regional expertise can simplify your search and ensure you find the ideal lot for your custom home in these areas.

Local Land Auctions

Attending local land auctions can be an excellent way to find unique properties that may be listed outside of traditional channels. These auctions can provide opportunities to purchase land at competitive prices.

Location ConsiderationsThe location is paramount whenselecting a lot. Below is a checklist to consider to ensure a site meets your needs.

  • Proximity to Work and Schools

Evaluate the distance from your potential lot to your workplace and the schools your children will attend. Shorter commutes can enhance your quality of life.

  • Your Preferred Amenities and Services

Check the availability of essential amenities such as grocery stores, healthcare facilities, parks and recreational areas. A well-connected location can significantly increase the convenience of daily living.

  • Neighborhood Desirability

Assess the neighborhood's overall desirability, including safety, community vibe and future development plans. A thriving neighborhood can positively impact your home’s value over time.

Zoning and Regulations

Understanding local zoning laws and regulations is crucial to ensuring the land can be used for residential purposes. Verify the zoning classification and any restrictions that may apply to your intended use. Contact local planning and zoning departments to gather information on:

Permitted Uses

Ensure the lot is zoned for residential construction.

Building Codes

Familiarize yourself with building codes and regulations that will govern your construction project.

Environmental Restrictions

Investigate any environmental restrictions or conservation easements that may affect your building plans.

How to Choose the Best Lot

Topography and Soil Quality

A lot's topography and soil quality can significantly influence construction and landscaping efforts. Key considerations include:

Land Slope

Evaluate the slope of the land. While gentle slopes can enhance drainage and provide scenic views, steep slopes may require additional engineering and excavation, increasing construction costs.

Soil Testing

Conduct a soil test to determine the soil quality and composition. This test can reveal potential issues such as poor drainage, soil instability or contamination, which could impact construction.

Utilities and Infrastructure

Access to essential utilities and infrastructure is vital for a functional and comfortable home. Check for:

  • Water and Sewage

Ensure access to clean water and an efficient sewage system. If the area relies on wells or septic systems, assess the feasibility and cost of installing them.

  • Electricity and Gas

Confirm the availability of electricity and gas lines. If utilities are not readily available, consider the cost and logistics of extending them to your lot.

  • Road Access

Evaluate the condition of nearby roads and access points. Good road infrastructure facilitates easy access and can enhance the overall appeal of your property.

Lot Size and Shape

The size and shape of the lot should align with your home design and future plans. 

Home Design Compatibility

Ensure the lot size accommodates your desired home design, including any additional structures like garages, pools or outbuildings.

Future Expansions

Leave room for potential future expansions or landscaping projects. A more considerable lot can provide flexibility for growth and additional features.

Environmental Factors

Environmental considerations can affect the long-term sustainability and enjoyment of your property. Take into account:

Flood Zones

Check if the lot is in a flood zone and understand the implications for insurance and building requirements.

Natural Hazards

Assess the risk of natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides or wildfires. Mitigation measures may be necessary for high-risk areas.

Sunlight Exposure

Consider the direction of sunlight and its impact on your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. Optimal sunlight exposure can enhance natural lighting and reduce energy costs.

Privacy and Views

Privacy and scenic views can significantly enhance the living experience and add value to your property. The most valuable features to consider include the following. 

Lot Location

Choose a lot that offers privacy from neighboring properties and roadways. Consider the distance from adjacent structures and the natural landscape.

Scenic Views

Select a lot with appealing views that can be enjoyed from your home’s main living areas. Views of mountains, water bodies or natural landscapes can enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal.


Working with Professionals

Real Estate Agents

Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent specializing in land purchases can provide invaluable assistance. They can help identify suitable lots, negotiate favorable terms and navigate the complexities of land acquisition. Schaeffer Homes offers a range of lot-home packages that can simplify this process and provide a seamless transition from land purchase to home construction.

Builders and Architects

Consulting with builders and architects early in the process can ensure the lot you choose aligns with your home design and construction plans. Schaeffer Homes team of experienced professionals can offer insights into the suitability of different lots and help you make informed decisions that align with your vision and budget.

Begin Your Journey with Schaeffer Homes

Choosing the best lot for your custom home is a crucial step that requires careful consideration and expert guidance. By taking the time to research, evaluate and consult with professionals, you can ensure that your chosen lot will provide the perfect foundation for your dream home. 

Contact Schaeffer Homes today to start creating your custom home in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Delaware. With our commitment to quality, customer service, and innovation, Schaeffer Homes is ready to help you every step of the way.

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