After weighing all the options, you’ve finally decided the best route for your growing family is to build a custom home from the ground up on your own lot. The first challenge? Finding a lot that meets all the needs of your family’s lifestyle. While you’d think it would be a fairly simple thing to do – there’s a lot of lands out there! – it’s not that easy. It’s true there a plenty of lots available, but not all of them are ready to build on or are best-suited for the home you have in mind.
The Right Lot for Your Fairfax County Custom Home
When choosing a lot in Fairfax County, there are some must-dos and things to consider before you put your money down on a residential lot.
- What’s Your Style? Community style, that is. Just like when you buy an existing home, you need to think about the type of community you want to live in. Do you want sidewalks? Do you have school-age children? Do you want to be able to walk to Main Street, or do you prefer something farther out?
- Check Out the Neighborhood. You can drive around the area to check out an area, but you can get a bird’s eye view by using a site like Google Street View, where you get to a see a much wider area. Your beautiful lot may be a great bargain because it isn’t far from the freight train line or industrial complex that operates 24/7.
- Easy Access. Take a look at roads and access. You most likely want a lot that fronts on or has access to a public road. Make sure the proper rights of way and easements are in place if it doesn’t.
- Site Visit. You absolutely must check and recheck the lot’s condition. The only way to do that is with a site visit where you walk the entire property. You may know exactly where you want to place the backyard deck, but it won’t happen if it’s in a wetland. Does the lot have a stream? It may turn into a river during a storm. Is anything growing on the lot? If not, there might be environmental problems.
- Are You Hooked Up? Make sure there are no surprise fees in store for water and sewer connections. If you’ll be installing the septic system, be certain it passes a perc test. Will you want cable TV and high-speed internet access? Do your homework and save yourself a lot of time and angst after the fact.
- Site Limitations. Check the lot’s use restrictions to make sure you can build the home you have in mind. HOA rules, environmental conditions, restrictive covenants, and historic district designations can all affect what you can and cannot do on a lot. Don’t forget to ask about front and side setbacks. For example, in the City of Falls Church, your new custom-built home’s footprint can’t be more than 25% of the square footage of the lot, and you can’t cover more than 35% of the lot with an impervious area, such as patios, walkways, and driveways.
- Seek Professional Guidance. Don’t rely on advice from family and friends who don’t have experience in helping buyers of residential property. Instead, meet with a real estate agent or broker with expertise in vacant land in the area you want to build. Even better, have your design-build firm come out and check the property before you commit.
How We Can Help You Find a Lot to Build On
Many of the homeowners we talk to have a vision of the perfect lot and home they want to build, but they’re unsure about finding the land. At Foley, we specialize in helping you find the perfect spot to build on. If you need help finding a lot, or have questions about a lot you’re considering or have already bought, we’re here to guide and support you and help you make the right decisions.
Lot selection is about much more than buying a vacant piece of land. There are zoning and building regulations, demolition requirements, utility considerations, permits, and more. We have years of experience in building and remodeling Fairfax County homes and are familiar with local ordinances.
Does the perfect lot exist? Probably not, as every piece of land will have its special challenges. But the lot that’s perfect for you and your family does exist and we can help you find it. If you’re ready to find a lot in Fairfax County and get started on building your new custom home, contact us today to schedule a conversation. We’ll be glad to help you sort out your options and show you just how enjoyable the custom home building process can be.