Purchasing Land? The Simple Steps That Could Save You Thousands

People often buy a plot of land before they decide on a builder to build their new custom home. While you may have found the property of your dreams, it’s important to know the risks involved with buying land before you invest in it.

If the land you’ve bought is located on a wet or marshy area, next to a body of water, or within a city infill lot, you could face some unexpected costs to develop it.

Wet or Marshy Areas

Wet or marshy areas might need to be covered with rock and fill that can cost $200 per truckload, or more. A driveway that crosses a wet area, for instance, could require many more loads of rock than if it was built on dry land. Wetlands may also force you to build your house and onsite septic field on an area of the lot that is much harder to build on.

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Bedrock can lurk just below the surface and can quickly add many thousands of dollars to the cost of your new home. Rock blasting in Nova Scotia has become a very expensive undertaking in the last few years.

Bodies of Water

When developing property that is located next to a lake, ocean, or river, you’ll encounter unique rules and regulations that apply to waterfront lots. These rules can often dictate the location and height of your home, along with the site of wells, septic fields, and other infrastructure. There are certainly added costs involved with building next to a body of water.

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Infill lots

Infill lots in the city are often subdivided from older properties and do not have municipal services located at the property line. This means excavating into the busy street, which will increase the cost of your new home.

Sawlor  Built Homes Purchasing Land

If bedrock is present, the option of rock blasting is not available to you, as the proximity of your neighbour’s home will make it virtually impossible to blast. Instead, you’ll need to have the rock chipped or broken with an excavator. This is a slow process that can cost between $200 and $350 per hour of work.

Sawlor Built Homes Purchasing Land

In addition, there are rules and regulations that will dictate the type, size, and location of your new home.

So, how can you protect yourself during this first and important step toward building your new home?

Your realtor and lawyer will certainly be important assets during this time. However, generally speaking, these people typically do not have actual building experience.

The best way to protect yourself from experiencing difficulties building on your lot is to have your realtor add a clause to your offer stating, “This offer is subject to builder approval.”

Once your offer is accepted, contact a reputable builder and ask them to meet you on the land to assess it for potential problems. A builder should easily be able to point out areas of concern and tell you who to contact for further in-depth assessment, if required.

These simple steps could save you thousands of dollars and much anxiety, and help you start the process of building your dream home right from day one.

Keith Sawlor Sawlor Built Homes Custom Home Builder in Nova Scotia

Keith Sawlor

Keith Sawlor is the second generation Owner of Sawlor Built Homes. With more than 35 years experience building custom homes in Nova Scotia, Keith has built a team that mirrors his professional knowledge and values.

Keith is a Certified Residential Builder who is also certified with many leading industry organizations. He is a Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Certified Builder, a Net Zero Energy (NZE) Certified Builder, a Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) R-2000 Certified Builder, and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS).

Keith is a Board Member of the Atlantic Home Warranty Program as well as the Canadian Home Builders' Association Nova Scotia. He is involved in many other industry programs and associations, such as the Canadian Home Builders’ Association National, Safety Services Nova Scotia and Better Business Bureau.


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Our friends told us that if we had our home built by Sawlor it would be an experience like no other. They were correct.

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