Helpful Information


Thinking about buying a lot? Here's a checklist to make sure you've covered all of your bases!


Lot Purchase
  • What is the amount of equity available for your lot purchase?
  • What is the method of financing the remainder?
  • Will you be looking for both a lot acquisition and construction loan?
  • Have you compared lot sales, improvement costs and area home sales to see if the lot is fairly priced?
  • Will the seller be offering any financing?

Loan Structure and Disbursement
  • ​What types of personal documents will the lender require for processing the loan?
  • What documents, inspections and reports will the lender need to support your project's feasibility?
  • What will it cost and how will you pay for those inspections the lender needs?
  • Are you getting the best loan-to-value available? Is it based on an accurate appraisal?
  • Are you eligible for a line of credit?
  • Will you be getting a commitment for permanent financing?
  • During construction, what will the disbursements be based on? (progress inspections, completing specific work items?)
  • Who will be verifying the loan draw requests?



  • What is the type and depth of bedrock?
  • What effect will bedrock have on excavation, the placement of utilities and other structures, roadbeds and foundations?
  • What effect will engineering costs have on the overall feasibility of building?

  • What soil types are present, and where?
  • Are there any poor percolation rates? Any soils with collapse potential when under excavation? Any shrinking or swelling characteristics when soils are dry or wet?
  • What effect will the soils engineering costs have on the feasibility of building?
  • Will special construction methods be required to install building foundations, driveways or utilities? What effect will those special methods have on costs and feasibility?

​Topographic Factors
  • Is the site too flat or too steep to be cost-effectively engineered?
  • How will slopes affect the installation and function of stormwater systems, utilities, driveways and buildings?
  • Is the slope of the site conducive to installing open stormwater systems?
  • Are the cut-and-fill requirements balanced? If not, how much excavation or importation of fill will be required?
  • What methods will be used for stabilizing cut-and-filled areas?
  • How will cut-and-fill engineering costs affect the feasibility of building?
  • What methods will be used to limit erosion and sedimentation before and after site development?

  • What is the location of the site in relation to services, amenities, and commuting distances to work?
  • Will property values increase in the area or remain stable?
  • Is the site located in a strong demand location with good schools, and a low crime rate?

Natural Features
  • Are there any designated floodplains or frequently flooded areas on the site?
  • Are there any federally designated wetlands on the site?
  • Are there any areas which appear to be wetlands on the site?
  • What would be the effect of wetlands on the location of buildings?
  • What type of existing vegetation can be found on the site?
  • Are trees and vegetation sufficient to avoid importing significant amounts of landscaping materials?
  • What effect will costs for clearing vegetation have on the feasibility?
  • Are there any special features on the site, such as large specimen trees, hills, rock outcroppings or other special landforms that are visually appealing?
  • Are there any areas with important views to a water body, mountains or hills, or other special natural features?

  • Were there any former uses on site that could have caused deposits of hazardous materials?
  • What type of inquiry should you consider to prove due diligence in discovery of possible contamination?
  • What would be the costs of cleaning up hazardous materials if found on the site?
  • What effect would public awareness of hazardous materials have on future value?
  • Are there any electric or magnetic fields caused by power lines either on or adjacent to the site?

  • Are there any existing structures currently on the site?
  • If so, could these structures be incorporated into the project?
  • If the structures are unusable, what is the cost of demolition and removal?

Site History
  • Is the site located within a recognized historic district?
  • Are there any structures on the site considered to have historic value?
  • Will an historic preservation survey of existing buildings or foundations of historic structures be required?
  • Will any historic structures be required to be preserved or restored?
  • Is there any archaeological significance to the site?


Land Acquisition
  • How many owners will you be negotiating with to acquire the land?
  • Are all of the owners willing to sell?
  • Do the owners have clear title to the property?
  • Is there a current survey of the site?
  • Is the current zoning on the site appropriate for the intended use?
  • If rezoning is needed, will the necessary zoning reclassification be obtainable?
  • What will be the approximate cost and time involved in rezoning?
  • What documents will be required to obtain zoning reclassification?
  • Is a variance obtainable for zoning restrictions?
  • Will a special use permit be required?
  • Are there any open space requirements?
  • What is the current and future zoning of properties contiguous to the site? What effect will future uses of contiguous land have on the site?

-Codes and Ordinances
  • Is your master plan in compliance with dimensions, set backs and design standards of local subdivision ordinances?
  • Are there any relevant special building codes because of the project location? (i.e., earthquake zones)
  • If so, what costs will be incurred to comply with those special building codes? What effect will special construction methods have on the building design?
  • Will your project be in compliance with local landscape ordinances?
  • Are permits required for sanitary sewer, potable water, power, cable television and telephone line installation?

-Environmental Permits and Special Studies
  • Does the local area participate in the National Flood Insurance Program?
  • Is a FEMA-designated floodplain on the site?
  • Is the elevation of the 100-year floodplain depicted on floodplain maps?
  • What methods will you use to raise the first floor above the 100-year flood level? Fill?

  • Are there any neighborhood associations or other organizations opposed to you building on this lot?
  • Have meetings been held with the appropriate groups to determine their concerns?
  • How much time and money will it cost to work with the various groups to develop alternative strategies to address their concerns?

  • Can the public utilities current capacity accept the demand of your building?
  • Are tap-ins and hookups for all utilities conveniently located?
  • If not, what effect will bringing in utilities have on costs and your building?
  • If utilities are not adjacent to the site, is the local utility company able to extend the utility infrastructure to the site?
  • Is discharge of stormwater runoff into available public infrastructure permitted?
  • Is there safe access to a frontage arterial road?
  • Is fire and police protection adequate for the home?
  • Are there any undesirable land uses contiguous to the property?
  • If so, what effect will screening undesirable uses have on your costs?

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