Lot Under Contract

Where Can I Build?

A recent list of top home builders in the Richmond region displayed an unusual statistic:

While it seems that the region is seeing an explosion of new residential construction, the number of new homes being built actually dropped a bit. The CEO of the Home Building Association of Richmond said that the issue wasn’t one of fewer people buying new homes, but rather one of too few available lots on which to build.

If you’ve made the decision to build your dream home, and you’re putting together a wish list of custom home design features, how do you find a lot to build on?

The first step is to decide where you want to live.

You may have visited someplace that struck your fancy, and decided that this was a spot for you. While not the best way to find a home, Zillow can be a resourceful tool. You can plug in a city, county, or zip code and see a laundry list of available homes. This will give you some idea of the sort of market you may be entering.

A next step is to simply drive around. You may see signs advertising land for sale or for available lots. Sometimes, you may find a lot another way. If you see what appears to be potential land, you can search state and county records to find the owner. Oftentimes, that owner may be willing to sell to recoup some of the tax money they’ve spent by sitting on the lot.

If you’ve identified the neighborhood that appeals to you, motor through that as well. While many newer developments frequently have unsold lots available, many established neighborhoods have lots that have never been developed.

Virginia also has a number of “land banks.” These are properties owned by the municipality (City of Richmond, Henrico County, etc.) that have been deemed vacant or were seized for tax delinquency. Several new homes within the City of Richmond have been built over the past few years by using this method.

The classifieds and your local real estate listings are also a good spot. Many people buy a lot with the intention to build, but the financing or a lifestyle change has caused them to change their minds. In this case, you’ll know that the lot is likely zoned for residential, and that previous owner has done the due diligence on things like utilities and the actual “buildability” of the lot.

Lastly, contact us. We’ve built custom homes on old farmland, on wooded lots in the middle of nowhere, and in almost every up-and-coming neighborhood in the area. Not only can we help you build that “forever home,” we likely know a spot where you can build it.