Selecting a Location to Build a New Home in West Michigan

IMG_5294Selecting the right location for your new home is an important process.  Being in the right location can mean the difference in looking forward to coming home or living with a lingering disappointment. There are many elements to consider.

Some of these may be obvious to you while other issues may relate to aspects with which you may be unfamiliar such as zoning restrictions and building codes. If you have children, making sure your building lot is in the school district that you desire is critical.

This can sometimes be a challenge with new subdivisions which may not be within the boundaries that you anticipate. Before you complete the purchase, make sure you check with local authorities unless driving your kids to school everyday is not a significant issue.

Checking with local authorities regarding any special building code requirements or subdivision regulations is also critical. You should make sure that your builder and architect are well aware of the code specifications which are attached to any lot that you are considering. Sometimes, special requirements like setbacks from the property lines or square footage requirements can affect the kind of home that you are allowed to build. This is particularly important when design a custom built home. There are few things more frustrating than paying architectural fees only to discover that your dream home does not fit the lot!

Some other considerations which could impact cost are:

1. Will the lot need to be cleared of trees or other debris to create a building site?

Although wooded sites are very attractive, they do require more work to prepare them for the building process. Work with the builder and architect to ensure that as much of the natural scenic elements as possible are retained. This can increase the value of your property in the long run and cut down on landscaping costs. Trees that must be cut down can also be sold to offset the costs of the clearing. Make sure your builder explores all possible options.

2. Is the grade/slope of the property conducive to the type of home you would like to build?

Steep grades often require additional fill and/or excavation which can impact building costs.

3. Will a septic or well be necessary?

Make sure that soil test substantiate that the soil on your lot will perk and support a septic system. Some types of soil require a special type of septic system which can increase the cost several fold. This is an issue which can be resolved through negotiation of your contract prior to your purchase. If done correctly, resolving this issue prior to your closing can save you the hassle of testing a property which is an unsuitable building site.

4. Is there any evidence of environmental contamination in the area?

Although this question is not normally one that most new home builders contend with, it is helpful to keep this in your frame of reference when considering suitable building sites. Sometimes issues of contamination are not obvious. For instance ground water contamination may preclude the ability to have safe drinking water from a well. An environmental assessment by a qualified professional can be well worth the cost prior to sinking money and your hopes to drill an unusable well.

5. Does the current neighborhood have homes similar in price and/or structure?

This question can be important in protecting your value in the long run. Sometimes, when new homes are built in established communities, there is a risk of building a home which is so superior in value to the surrounding homes that the RE-Sale Value of the new home is impacted negatively. This effect actually INCREASES somewhat over time. To prevent this type of unpleasant surprise, it is advisable to have a thorough evaluation of the neighborhood that you are considering prepared by your real estate agent.  Having your REALTOR create a Comparative Market Analysis is a wise step prior to making a final decision about the location of your new West Michigan home.

Your new home is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make.  At Audu Real Estate, we have worked with clients and builders in a variety of capacities over almost two decades.  We are available to assist with the process of selection and implementation of a successful new home construction project.  If you’re interested in discussing the process further, please contact us.

Related Content: Selecting the Right Builder  & 27 Questions to Ask Your Builder