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Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on Sep 12, 2021 3:06:00 PM
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With beautiful national parks, stunning mountain ranges, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, Idaho is one of the best-kept secrets in the U.S. While the Gem State offers a true connection to nature that most Americans only dream of, residents also enjoy a friendly, small-town feel—even in the cities—which makes the state truly one of a kind.

Consider these three regions:

  • Treasure Valley is one of the most popular areas of Idaho, drawing residents with an ideal blend of job opportunities, dining, shopping, recreation, and relaxed living. 

  • Farther north, the Inland Northwest area of Idaho offers even more close encounters with nature, boasting national forests, lakes, and rivers in nearly every county. 

  • Down south, Magic Valley offers a pleasant climate for year-round recreation for a population that has a small-town sensibility. 

If you’re looking to build on land that you own in Idaho, now is the perfect time. Although all three regions are enjoying steady growth, there is still plenty of wide-open space, gorgeous natural scenery, and peace and quiet.

If you are planning to build your custom home on your own land in Idaho, there is a bit more involved in the process. You’ll also need to consider the logistical side. You will want to: 

  • Research the market. 
  • Obtain financial preapproval. 
  • Perform due diligence.
  • Assess the size of your lot.
  • Ensure you have utility availability.
  • Conduct a land survey.
  • Comply with building restrictions.

The homesite preparation process has many steps to it, and many can be stressful. At Adair Homes, we have worked with many customers who want to build a custom home on their land in the beautiful Treasure Valley, Inland Northwest, or Magic Valley areas. So, we’ve learned quite a few tips to help you through the process before you purchase land to call Idaho your home.

Take advantage of today’s strong market.

Throughout Idaho, home prices are increasing steadily, while inventory is shrinking. This means that the coming years will be a seller’s market, making it a perfect time to build equity in a custom home. In fact, many of our customers are surprised to find that they have built immediate equity through the site development and building process—a fantastic position to be in while you enjoy your new home.

Get preapproved for financing.

When making an offer on a piece of land, you will most likely be asked for financing approval. Also called preapproval, this process is good to wrap up before you start your search. Getting preapproval puts you in the perfect position to act quickly as soon as you find the property you want without having to wait to get the go-ahead from the bank. Plus, most people selling land will not take you seriously as a buyer until you can prove you have the means to pay for it. 

To obtain a land loan, you will need to qualify in the same way that you would for a home mortgage. To do so, you will need:

  • Excellent credit
  • A debt-to-income ratio of between 30-40 percent
  • Proof of consistent income

To assist with the financial side of this process, Adair Financial provides financial advising and services to our homebuying clients. 

Once you’ve found your dream location, make an offer immediately. Property in Idaho is moving quickly, but making an offer will secure the piece of land you’re interested in.

Do your due diligence.

Before officially investing in a piece of land, you need to ensure that it suits your needs and will be a good location for your custom home. This is your opportunity to determine the feasibility of building on the property before fully committing yourself to buy it. In almost every instance, the due diligence time frame is up to 30 days from your offer, so be sure not to let that time pass. 

There are several parts to the due diligence process. We always encourage our customers to discuss these details in-depth with someone at the local building department because so many municipalities differ in their requirements.

Assess the size of your lot.

Many people make the mistake of only considering the size of the home when they assess the lot size. However, it is just as important to make a tentative plan about what you will do with the property, such as using the land for outdoor gatherings or building an additional structure at a later point. 

You will also need to know whether or not your land requires wastewater and septic systems if your property isn’t connected to your municipality’s systems. You can find detailed information about these systems to ensure your property is suitable for installation by visiting the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

These requirements might impact the size of the property you would like to obtain as well as how you situate your house on it. Be sure to investigate these and other zoning constraints before investing in the land. 

Ensure you have power, water, and transportation availability.

With some pieces of property, you might not have access to power, water, or roads. In this case, you will need to spend more money during the site development phase. These costs can vary widely depending on local fees, permit costs, soil conditions, and other factors. In our experience of working with customers in similar situations, the cost can be upward of $10,000, so be sure to include this in your budget.

The site development process can be extensive and complex, which makes it a good idea to partner with a homebuilder who will work closely with you throughout this step. At Adair Homes, our construction superintendent and branch administrator will help you to collect site-related bids to ensure you are getting the best price possible.

Conduct a land survey.

No matter where you decide to build a new home in Idaho, it’s important to have your land surveyed by a third party. A land survey is a small investment that provides a wealth of valuable information to help protect you from any major legal or financial issues in the future. 

A land survey is a valuable tool for obtaining building permits, and it will also:

  • Outline the boundary lines and what above-ground and in-ground infrastructure are allowed.
  • Establish the accurate location of proposed structures, accesses, pipelines, buildings, and other aspects of the construction.
  • Tell you how you might be able to divide a larger plot of land if you plan to split the parcel in the future. 

Technically, this is not a requirement for obtaining land. However, we strongly advise our customers to have their land surveyed because it is in their best interest to do so. 

Understand the building restrictions.

Finally, it’s important that you understand the rules and regulations that might impact a specific piece of land. Every county and municipality has different requirements and unique regulations, so as you start to explore your building options, it’s a good idea to visit the building department in the municipality that governs your property. Visiting the department in person allows you to present your proposed building site and learn valuable information regarding what projects will be allowed on that particular property. 

Contact Adair Homes today.

Once these important steps are complete, you should be in the perfect position to complete your land purchase and start the site development process. Before you know it, you and your family will be moving into the custom home of your dreams in the stunning state of Idaho.

To learn more about the custom homebuilding process, view our Path to Home Ownership. And if you would like to talk to a Home Ownership Counselor based in Treasure Valley, Inland Northwest, or Magic Valley, they would be excited to speak with you as soon as you are ready.