In part 3 of our series on How To Find Land For Sale in Baker County, Florida you'll learn the basics of what to expect when planning to build a custom home on your rural land.
As we've covered in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on How To Find Land for Sale in Baker County, Florida, there is a lot to consider when buying raw land to transform into a homesite.
One of the biggest considerations for new land buyers is the type of home they wish to build.
Building a new home on raw land can be an overwhelming prospect for new and seasoned homeowners, especially if they've never built before.
There is a lot to consider when building a custom home, including:
- Your timeline
- Setting your budget
- Finding a reputable contractor OR researching DIY options
- Choosing the style of home you wish to build, picking all the appliances, finishes, etc.
- Securing the right type of financing
- Selecting the best location for your home
- Site prep and land clearing
- Well and septic installation
- Driveway installation
- And much more!
In other words, there is a lot to think about and a lot on the line.
But if you're feeling overwhelmed about building a home, think about this: every home you've ever been in or driven by was built through the efforts of a homeowner and/or builder at some point.
This means you can do this too!
The question is, where do you start?
Whether building your home through a custom home building company, a DIY kit home you build yourself, a barndominium, earth-sheltered home, or another option, you need to know the requirements involved before you start.
Here’s a checklist to keep in mind when preparing to build a home on your Baker County land.
1: Make Sure The Home You Want To Build Suits The Land You Want To Buy
It seems like an obvious tip, but there’s more to it than you think.
Find out the setback requirements for your particular property so you’ll know where your home can and can’t be built and if it will fit within the space you’re allowed to build.
Consider your budget, not only the cost to build the home but also what it will cost to prep the site before construction, what fees are involved in putting in a driveway if the property doesn’t have one, and in connecting utilities to your home.
If you want to hire a home builder, the sooner, the better.
An experienced local contractor can offer tips on choosing the best land and save you headaches long before the building begins.
2: Unless You're A Cash Buyer, Apply For Your Construction Loan As Soon As Possible
Building cannot begin until your construction loan is approved, so get the application process started as soon as possible.
To apply for your construction loan, you need to provide the house plan you want, a contract and a site plan drawn up to show where the home and utilities will be located.
The bank will review the plan and get an appraisal to ensure the home will be worth the loan amount.
Learn more in: How Construction Loans Work.
3: Obtain New Construction Permit Approvals Before You Build
Specific regulations in Baker County and Florida will dictate where your home and utilities should be located and what will make them safe for use and the environment.
The Baker County Environmental Health Office will perform a site evaluation to determine the property’s water table level and soil percolation and it will advise you on the best location for your septic tank and well.
This same department will review your permitting applications submitted by your licensed builder.
4. Take Dirt Seriously—It Seems Minor, But It's One Of The Most Critical Aspects In Building Your Home
When it’s time to break ground on the homesite, the top layer of topsoil, which is not stable enough to build a home, must be removed. Then truckloads of dirt will be brought in to create a solid, well-draining site for the home’s foundation.
Err on the side of caution to ensure your property drains properly. The higher you’re able to make your homesite, the less likely you’ll have drainage issues around your home later on.
Read more about this in our article, How to Prepare Land for a Homesite.
5. Begin Building With County Codes And Inspections In Mind At All Stages
At this stage in the homebuilding process, you and your contractor will get to know the Baker County Community Development (Building and Zoning) Department very well.
The average home requires multiple inspections during the building process. This helps ensure that everything — the plumbing, foundation, nailing, framing and septic system — is installed safely for you and your neighbors.
The steps to building the home will likely go as follows:
- Lay the first lines of plumbing in the ground that will lead from your home to your future well and septic.
- Form the foundation for the house.
- Frame and truss the home.
- Install plumbing, air conditioning and electrical wiring in the house.
- Enclose the frame with exterior walls, roof, doors and windows.
- Finish the home’s exterior (i.e. putting up stucco or siding).
- Insulating the house and putting up sheetrock.
- Final interior items, such as painting, flooring and fixtures.
- Well and septic installation.
- Driveway, landscaping and final inspections.
Additional Resources For Building A Custom Home On Your Rural Land
This article provided a basic overview and checklist of what to expect when building a custom home on Baker County land.
A qualified and reputable home builder/General Contractor will be one of your best resources in navigating the details of this process. If you're acting as your own General Contractor, there is a lot more you'll need to know.
Read our interviews with local home builders, who walked us through the steps and tips for building a custom home in neighboring Nassau and Bradford counties.
Here are some additional helpful resources:
- How To Find The Right Contractor For Your Land
- How To Clear Land To Build A Homestead: Tips And Advice From A Florida Landowner
- How To Prepare Land For A Homesite In (Neighboring) Nassau County, Florida
- 7 Pros And Cons Of Being Your Own General Contractor
- How To Install A Gravel Driveway On Your Rural Land
- Everything You Need To Know About Septic Systems
- How To Install A Septic System In (Neighboring) Nassau County, Florida
- What Land Owners Need To Know About Well Installation