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If you've ever thought about building your own custom dream home, you'll need a lot. Before you can hire a designer, work with a builder and even come close to realizing the precious satisfaction of moving into your own custom home, a location must be scouted, vetted and purchased, and the real work hasn't even started yet. No matter what kind of house you'd like to build, it needs a place to sit, and this all-important slice of land will dictate how much space you have to work with, as well as who your neighbors are and the neighborhood you'll live in.
But finding a lot in Edmonton can be a complicated matter. While you can try your luck at driving to your desired area and hoping a vacancy catches your eye, you could spend weeks, months or even years hoping you get lucky, if it ever happens at all. That's because even if you identify a piece of land you like, you'll have to find the owner in the tax records and approach them about selling their land. The truth is, they could be in the nascent phases of their own build, waiting to secure financing or holding off until a pending sale or other future concern.
That said, you'll also want to match the lot and area you're considering with your overall budget. A good rule is to set aside about 20 to 30 percent of the overall home value for the lot, which would give you about $100,000 for a lot that holds a $350,000 home. If you put an expensive or excessively large home on a cheap and small lot, you could be diminishing the overall value of your home. On the other hand, if you put a cheap and small home on a large and spacious lot, you could be damaging the value of the land. Ensuring you've got this balance right means you're maximizing the value of the money you're spending.
One of the most important aspects of finding a lot in Edmonton is to determine how it's zoned, which determines what the land can be used for. If you end up buying a lot in Edmonton that's zoned for industrial or agricultural use, you won't be able to build a home on it, and you'll have to turn around and sell the lot. Spending the time researching your desired lot before making an offer will help reduce these kinds of zoning issues, and it can help you from making a terrible mistake with an errant lot purchase.
In addition to what you can build, zoning also governs the size of your structure, or how close to the edge of your lot you can build a home. In order to conform to neighborhood regulations, your lot will have legal limits up to where you can build, such as a required distance from the property line or curb, so keep these regulations in mind when considering the structure you'd like to build. Additionally, some areas regulate what building materials may be used and what a home may look like, so be sure to consult all local regulations before you put pen to paper.
Beyond the zoning issues, you'll want to consider if there are existing utility hookups. Water, natural gas, electricity and sewer hookups will make a build more straightforward -- and cheaper! -- than a lot that needs a septic tank installed or if your builder will need to run utilities significant distances. If you don't have water, you might need to drill a well or get it from miles away, which can incur significant costs. And if you're in a rural or forest area, you may also need to consider cell and internet service, which can be spotty and a source of frustration during a build and long after you move in.
Another issue to consider when finding a lot in Edmonton is whether the lot is ready for a build. It could cost a few thousand just to clear a lot of debris and prepare it for home construction. If it's a heavily wooded area or more remote, prep costs can go up dramatically. If your land isn't graded for a structure you may also need to pay for leveling, and if there are any existing structures you'll have to pay to knock them down and clear the area for construction.
It's important to also consider that when you're building a home, you, your designer and your builder will need to obtain proper permitting, conduct surveys and manage a complicated project that can take years to complete. But if you have the will and the finances to make it happen, a custom home can be one of life's most rewarding achievements. Financing can help close the gap on the big-ticket items, but you'll still have to come up with a lot of the funds yourself. In fact, construction loans can help get your project off the ground by allowing you to pay in stages as construction progresses.
But it all starts with finding a lot. In Edmonton, you can find lots in the South West, such as Cavanagh, Langdale and Graydon Hill; in the North West, such as Newcastle, Secord Heights and Kinglet; in the North East, such as Manning Village and McConachie Heights; in the South East, such as Orchards and Summerwood; and in Fort Saskatchewan, Stony Plain and Spruce Grove. Our listings are subject to change, so for the most updated availability, please call us at 780-800-7594 for our most up-to-date listings.