Monday, June 6, 2011


Buying a piece of land for a custom home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make. With such a large investment, it's best that you research the project and consider all the variables and your goals. Land may be sold as a large acreage in a rural area or as a small lot in a sub-division. There are many aspects to consider and we will discuss some of them here.
Generally, land in a sub-division, near a city, near a ski area, in a prime vacation area or with dramatic views will command a higher price. Land in remote areas, with poor access or with a north facing building site will sell for a lower price. Construction costs when you do build will be highest in ski areas and places with large numbers of vacation and second homes. Costs to build in semi-rural areas, on the edges of cities and in places where suburban builders work will be more reasonable. Surprisingly, construction costs in the remote and rural areas will not be much different.
Buying land adjacent to open space or government land has the advantages of feeling larger, being more privaye, but may cost more.
Some of the aspects to consider about land before you purchase depend on your planned use. Will the site be a future vacation home or a full time home? Will there be children? Are they school age and will they ride a bus to a local school? Is there convenient access to the things you like and need? Ski areas, restaurants, shops and airports?
Most rural or large acreage sites will use a well and septic system. Most sub-divisions will have sewer and water. There may be design covenants and a design review process. Are there restrictions on size, style and placement? Taxes need to be considered. On large acreage, an agricultural tax status may be obtained to lower property tax. On a 35 acre lot that may mean raising your own cattle. On very large acreage that often means letting a local rancher lease the grazing rights. A conservation easement could be considered. Heavily treed parcels may not stay heavily treed. In addition to some trees cut for construction, one site lost many of its trees to pine beetles.

Climate should be considered. What spots on the property recieve full sunlight? Good winter sun on the garage apron and driveway help clear snow. Are there trees to slow the wind? A well built house makes little noise in a strong wind, but what about being outside? What is the local zoning? Is a guest house desired? Is it allowed? Are there good views? One trick is to bring a step ladder to a site and check what the views will be from the main floor. They are often better than from the ground. Is there privacy from neighbors, existing and future.

David Elfring Architect will make a site visit to your property, newly bought or still being considered. He will visit a site in most parts of Colorado within about a four hour drive from Castle Rock, Colorado. He will discuss with you; potential house sites, access, utilities, budgets and your requirements. Stakes will be placed to allow for future soil tests and a contour survey. The Architect has made these consulting visits near Walsenburg, Canon City, Fairplay, Salida and other spots in Colorado. Consulting fees begin at $500.

Photos, in the order shown; 
Lyon cabin, Fox Adres Country Club, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, before & after                        
Schurr residence, Fraser, Colorado, before & after.

No comments: