Have you considered purchasing a vacant lot and building your own home?
Water, water, water
Of course, the name of the game in Arizona when you build should probably be "Water!”
You’ll want to check out whether the property you’re purchasing is on a water system, or if it is on a well. If it is on a well, you need to have the well inspected for production, pressure and water quality. You will also want to find out how old the pump is. There may be other water questions you should consider, and your realtor can help guide you.
If it doesn’t have water currently available, be sure to find out if you can tap into an existing water system, or if you’ll need to drill a well. If you have to drill a well, get at least a rough estimate of how much that is likely to cost. Local drillers will usually have a good idea about how deep they’ll need to go.
If you can tap into a water system, find out if there are requirements regarding hours for watering and installation of low-flow toilets.
Additionally, you’ll want to know if it is in a flood zone. The County Assessor’s office will have those records.
Another question to ask is about the septic system. If the property is on a water system in town or city limits, most likely it’s also on the sewer system. But that’s not a guarantee. It might have a septic system already installed. Here’s a list of questions you can ask the property owner, however, since you’re looking at a vacant lot, many of these questions may not apply.
If you’ll need to install a septic system, be sure to consult an expert regarding the type and placement of the system.
If you can connect to a municipal sewer system, see if you can get an idea as to an average sewer bill in the area. No need for surprises!
Of course you’ll want to have power, and in today’s world, you’ll likely need Internet access. There are many options for Internet, including cable companies, telephone companies and dish services.
How far away is the nearest electricity pole? How do you connect to that? Are there requirements for underground cables?
Will natural gas be available or will you need to be on a propane system? In Prescott there are several propane companies to choose from, and if you purchase your own tank, you can use any of the companies in the future.
Zoning and Usage
How is the lot zoned? This can make a difference as to whether you’re building a home, an office or a warehouse. Are there property usage restrictions?
Access Roads and Easements
Can you build a road into your lot? If it’s not right next to an existing street, you may need to get an easement to access the property. Or, someone may have an easement across your lot to access their property.
Building the Home
Get an architect or a homebuilder to take a walk around the lot with you. Ask where the best placement of the home would be, and what direction it should face to be the most energy efficient. Are there natural aspects of the land that you can work into the design of the property? What permits will be required? How will it be landscaped? Is it located within a subdivision with a homeowner’s association complete with fees and rules?
All these questions can likely be answered by your realtor. If not, they will know how to find experts to provide you the information you need.
By doing the proper research ahead of time, you can find that buying a lot and building the home of your dreams is an exciting and exhilarating experience. And as with any real estate purchase, a trusted realtor can be your best friend!