Buying Land and Building

Buying Land and Building

What Do I Do First?

Find a lot or acreage that you think would be a perfect place to build your home. Try to keep a budget in mind for a completed home when you shop for your land. An example, if your total budget is $750,000 then start a spreadsheet and figure out all your costs including land and development costs and shop accordingly. A good rule of thumb would be to spend one-third of your budget on the land (in this case $250,000), and the rest ($500,000), or two-thirds, on the house.

Here Are the Main Things to Consider When Selecting Land to Build a Home.

Whidbey Island, Washington


  1. Does the land have a water source?
  2. Is there a water hook-up charge? How much?
  3. Does the land have a private well? Has the well water been tested recently?
  4. Does the land have a shared well? Is there a good agreement recorded by the county?
  5. How far is the water line from the building area and how much will it cost to bring a line to the site?

Electricity and Internet

  1. How far is the electric source from the building site? How much will it cost to bring in the electric service?
  2. Is there internet available? Who is the Provider? Can they give you an estimate of their service, and is it sufficient for your intended use?
  3. How far from the building site is the internet and how much will it cost to get it to the site?

Septic System

  1. Has there been a perk test? If a perk test has not been done it will cost either the buyer or seller approximately $1,200 to get one done.
  2. What type of soils did the perk test indicate? Alternative or Standard?
  3. Do you want to have a septic system design based on the perk test? A septic design could cost another $1000-$1500. This will show you the area needed for a septic system and a reserved field.
  4. As a rule of thumb expect a standard system (nice soils with good drainage) to cost around $10,000 to $12,000. Expect an alternative system to cost between $25,000 to $30,000.
  5. After considering septic requirements, is there still sufficient room to build your dream home on the site?


  1. How difficult will this land be to build on? Is it flat, sloped, or steep?
  2. Is there fill dirt?
  3. Are there wetlands? Streams? Critical areas?
  4. Is the land waterfront?
  5. How far back from a bluff do you need to build?
  6. Is there a Geotechnical Report? Do you need to do a study? Are you in the flood zone?


  1. Is the land cleared of trees? If so, do the trees have any value?
  2. How many trees will have to be removed?
  3. Are there other obstacles, such as stumps, blackberries, and boulders, that need to be cleared?
  4. Where will the access be, and will a driveway need to be created for construction and building contractors?
There are many things to consider and investigate when you are thinking about purchasing land. There is the cost of the land but sometimes the bigger costs can be in the development of the land. Here is an example. Lot A sells for $100,000 and Lot B sells for $150,000. Lot A has an alternative perk, steep slopes, and wetlands. Lot B has a standard perk, the land is relatively flat, and no critical areas. Even though Lot B is more expensive, at the end of the day Lot B may be less expensive to develop and end up costing far less than Lot A.
Now for the fun part. How does the land make you feel? Is it pretty and private or is it in a nice neighborhood? Does it have the views that you want? Will you be able to build the type of home you have always dreamed of the building? When in doubt or if the property is complicated and difficult to figure out, call on a land feasibility expert. We are able to recommend the right person to answer the more difficult questions. In conclusion, we at Team Langley love the building process. Between us, we have developed many properties and have built several homes ourselves. We love helping buyers with their building and development process.

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