Buying vacant land

The decision to buy or build a new home is often driven by inadequacies in your existing home, which often relate directly to lifestyle or, a changing of life stages. A new home can offer many opportunities to alter or improve these circumstances. In order to maximize this opportunity, analyzing your existing lifestyle and future needs is a critical step to ensure you receive the most benefit out of your time and financial investment.

Choosing an appropriate site for a new house or choosing an existing home and re-developing the site to make the most of its natural attributes yields significant economic, lifestyle and environmental benefits but can be terrifying to the inexperienced buyer.

So, where do you start?

When we start this journey with our clients our process begins with an in-depth discovery meeting to establish the critical needs and wants of your family, as well as align expectations and discuss common challenges associated with land purchases.

Some of the questions we present at this stage to focus on the right communities are.

●       How does the location suit your lifestyle? Can it continue to accommodate changes over time associated with your employment, financial position, health, recreational focus, family (new and empty nest), retirement and old age?

●       Where will the occupants of your home go to work or school, exercise, shop, socialize or get health care? How does your family commute?

●       What type of home do you need? How big? How many occupants? Attached garage? Bungalow? Two stories?

●        What communities are you attracted to? Is walkability important? What services do you need?

●       Do you require a large back yard? What type of exposure? Is solar an option?

The answer to these questions and many more will start to eliminate the locations that don’t fulfill the needs of your family and present you with the communities that work best.

From here we consider a site evaluation to further disqualify individual build sites that don’t work and focus on ones that bring you the most value. It is at this stage that our team grows with the use of additional resources including Real Estate Agents, lenders, brokers, Lawyers, and “off-market” networks to explore all your options.

Some of the attributes we look for that will now guide your final decisions will be.

●       Planning controls can have a major influence over your design. Knowing and having experience with the local bylaws, checking for easements, setbacks, and building restrictions will eliminate a devastating purchase.

●       Observe the potential for overshadowing, loss of privacy and noise from neighboring areas.

●       Note the size, orientation, and slope of the site.

●       Investigate the geology and topography of the site. Is there a threat of landslide, soil slip or creep?

●       Identify any natural site drainage patterns and determine how they can be maintained.

●       Identify the services and specify which are included vs which will have to be added?

●       What are construction and permanent access like?

●       We then determine the costs associated with the purchase and make sure the all-in cost is still within your budget.

To your satisfaction, we are now able to negotiate an offer and start on the very exciting experience of designing your dream home (much more on this process on another blog).

If you are considering a custom home, either on existing land or re-development, contact us for a complimentary discovery meeting. We can assist with your Realtor, or introduce you to some of Calgary’s top Realtors to create a team committed to providing true facts, lead you through the options, answer your questions, and help point a clear path forward to protect your family’s investment.

Marc Lehouillier