Modular Homes Section

How to Select the Right Building Lot for Modular Homes

Location, location, location! We've all heard it said a million times, but never is this phrase more important than when you are selecting the site for your new modular home. Finding the perfect lot for your dream house comes down to doing your research, knowing your needs (and wants) and pounding the pavement to see what's available.

Location 1 - Where You Look is Where You'll Live
Before you do anything else, you have to select a target area for your home. This may sound simple, but many people begin their land search with only a vague idea of where they would like to build and quickly become frustrated by poor search results. Or they fall in love with a great tract with an amazing view only to realize it is way too far away from family, friends and work. Southwest Texas, the Upper Peninsula and the Jersey Shore are way too vague. If you are serious about building a modular home, you first have to hone in on a very small geographic area that you find desirable - and that fits your budget.

Two nearly identical plots will have hugely different price tags based on where they are located so you need to do some research to compare land costs in different areas. The quality of schools, ease of commuting and a lot of other factors contribute to a town's desirability, and this is reflected in land prices. If you are absolutely sure that there is only one town where you and your family will be happy, then by all means focus your efforts on finding a lot within that one municipality. A better strategy is usually to have one target town and be open to one or two neighboring communities that have similar amenities and great access to your preferred location. A little flexibility about zip code can save a lot of money.

Location 2 - Size Matters
Are you willing to live with less land to save twenty minutes on your daily commute? Do you really need ten acres for the modest Cape Cod you plan to build? Exactly how close will you be to the neighbors? How much acreage you can afford will depend largely on the area you are targeting. Always remember that the more you spend on land, the less you have to spend on your home.

The size of your chosen lot will affect more than just the cost of your land. It will have a large impact on the "curb appeal" of your future home. No matter how great the location, a 3,500 square foot home squeezed onto .1 acre of land will look ridiculous, and a small house on a huge lot will be just as out of place.

Location 3 - King of the Hill or Queen of the Desert
Both flat and sloping lots have advantages and disadvantages. A flat is preferable if you plan to install a swimming pool or play area for kids. If drainage is not a concern, you may opt to save money by digging a crawl space rather than a full basement on a flat plot. A sloping lot could make it easier to bring natural light into your basement by allowing for large windows or even a walkout door in the design. Some areas have well-known drainage issues; if you plan to build in one of these areas, a sloping lot with sound footing drains is a good idea.

Sloping/flat considerations are not the only things to consider when making a final lot selection. You should definitely keep in mind how all members of your family will use the land. You will want to think about factors such as the amount of landscaping you will need to do if the lot has few mature trees. Landscaping can add considerable costs to the overall land. Avid gardeners may prefer the wide-open possibilities of a flat plot with lots of sunlight, but if you envision your backyard full of bustling family barbecues, then a few shade trees could keep your guests happy and cool.

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