More Tips on Buying land in Heights & Nearby

Buying Heights Lots

Large Heights Lot on 9th St.

More Tips on Buying Heights Lots

Buying Heights Land, Part 1  covered lot location, lot prices, lot size, corner vs. interior lot, and alley use. I’ll cover a few more items here for you to be aware of before buying Heights lots. The goal here is not to tell you everything you need to know…it is to open your eyes to some of the variables in buying Heights land (or other inner land, for that matter.) If you have already picked a builder, definitely get their advice before buying your land.

See my page on home buying process for an overview.

· Deed restrictions: Deed restrictions (like Woodland Heights) and individual blocks all over; lot size restrictions (maybe you can put two homes on what used to be one lot; maybe you can’t); building set-backs; all of these are critical. Know what you are doing before you make an offer, and have an option period to back out, in case you screwed up and can’t build what you want.

· Historic districts: These areas have a new and ever-changing set of restrictions. I won’t even try to untangle these rules. Tearing down a home in a historic district is almost impossible…after all, the purpose of a historic district is to preserve old houses.

· Lot clearing: probably a reasonable cost for clearing a crumbling little bungalow is about $5000. This could be more with garage, removing driveways, etc. So, a cleared lot may be worth more to you than a lot with a tear-down on it. An option might be to get someone like Cherry Movers to haul the house off. Clearing Heights lots.  I don’t know if they still do, but they have in the past bought homes that had good bones and were easy to move (meaning they don’t have to chop off the roof; it fits under power lines; easy access to main road, etc.).

· Style of home: Buy your Heights lot based on the style of home you plan. Don’t put your soaring 3 story home next to nicely remodeled bungalows; don’t build a contemporary where it sticks out like a sore thumb. I like contemporary homes, but build them around the edges, not the established areas of the Heights.

· Size of house: How big of a house do you want? If you are building a garage-front home, it can fit on a much smaller footprint. Know what you are building before buying Heights lots.

· Yard size: How big of a yard do you want? People move to the Heights for the yards and porches. So, leave room for a yard. Otherwise just build in Cottage Grove and forget about grass.

· Misc.: Do you want your current or future kids to go to Travis or Harvard Elementary schools? Do you want to walk to restaurants? (a novel concept for Houston.) There are a lot of little things that go into selecting a lot to build on. Do you want your house facing a certain direction? Mine faces South so I get the winter sun on my front porch.

· Your loan: Talk to a lender first. Do you want to buy land and then build within a few months? Maybe you should get both land and construction loan together and save on closing costs. This is complicated…talk to your lender.

· Negotiating price: It’s a screwy market now. There are quite a few lots of lots available, but they are odd size, odd location, etc. The great lots are snapped up fast, so be diligent. Be knowledgeable about “asking” and “sales” prices in the area. Base your offer on recent sales and comps, not what the buyer is hoping to get. In most cases you can bargain more than you could in the past.

Builders: Don’t get burned! Don’t build in the wrong place! Don’t build to a price point that is too high for the location or style of home. Look at both price/SF and the price point of your finished product. Like I warned above; know what you can build (and what can sell) before you buy the land. The land price and location is the most critical step.

That’s enough for now. It’s enough to make you think. Let me emphasize again though: If your goal in buying land is to save money on the finished house…it won’t work. Just find the house you like, already built, buy it and and move in. You won’t save money getting one built on your land. Be sure to see my previous post on Buying Heights Land.

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t offer my services: If you would like more information regarding the area, or buying Heights lots,  Call today: 713 868-9008