If you have decided to make Tampa your home, the city's on-your-lot builders can help you create your dream home from the ground up. But first, you need to secure a home for your home – the lot that’s perfect for your southern sanctuary and the life you envisage there. Finding the perfect lot is arguably the most essential step in the home building process. So don’t rush into grabbing just any piece of land that fits your budget; first research all options well. Remember, buying a lot is not like purchasing a move-in ready house. While choosing a land for your home, you have to consider the topography, property line setbacks, and the land purchase rules and restrictions for that area and not merely the appropriate granite for the kitchen cabinet, hardwood for flooring, or fancy faucets for your bath.

So how do you proceed?

Start by setting your priorities. Make a list of the ‘must-have’ and the ‘good-to-have’ features in your new home. Be as detailed as possible. Take your preferences and lifestyle into consideration while drawing up this list. Do you work from home or plan to run a business from your home? A home office is a must then. Do you like swimming but aren’t very keen about it? A swimming pool must go on the ‘good-to-have’ list.  Every parcel of land comes with its unique features, including its apparently unfavorable ones. Get creative to make the cons work in your favor. The more effort you put in evaluating a vacant lot from different perspectives, the closer you get to your dream. To help streamline your land analysis, we have made a five-point checklist that you must consult before you buy a lot for your tropical haven in Tampa.

1.Consider the Neighborhood 

Neighborhood selection is central to any home-building process. While selecting a community, consider your neighbors’ income or the education levels. Also, think about the kind of location that best fits your lifestyle. Are you a fitness freak? Then you would appreciate features like turf sidewalks, tree-lined parks, and bike paths around your community. Do you have a growing family? Then a lot near a school district will be an ideal choice for you. And whether you have a small or big family, a shopping mall within a walking distance is a wonderful convenience to have. Most importantly, refer to the neighborhood crime index before finalizing any land deal. 

2.Hire a Builder

If you want to build a completely customized home on your chosen lot, you will have to hire your own builder.  In fact, you will have to research potential Tampa-area builders, right at the time of researching the land. There are three main advantages of working with a builder from the very beginning. First, a professional construction expert is the best person to guide you through your lot selection task, informing you about the feasibility of the project, and merits and demerits of choosing a particular neighborhood. A parcel of land may have certain topographical features, such as a slant, which are difficult to understand with untrained eyes but hinder construction later on. Secondly, if you have a floor plan in mind, your builder will tell you whether that lot is suitable for that particular residential plot or not. And thirdly, a builder will help you with the heavy paperwork typical of any high-value transaction in a state.

3.Get an Aerial View of the Streets

Leverage technology to get a 360-degree view of the locality under consideration. Saatellite images give you just that. You can use Google street view to discover what are miles away as well as what lies in the adjoining plot. With a broad spectrum view of the locality at your fingertips, you will be in a better position to negotiate the price. For example, the information that there is a piggery a few plots away gives you a better negotiating power to bring down the price by a few notches. On the other hand, if you find that there are places down the road that are aligned to your personal interest (may be a photography club, an auditorium, or even a hobby shop), you may consider to be a little flexible with your budget. 

4.Check the Access and the Utility Connections

Before finalizing the deal make sure that your lot has vehicular access to public roads. It is least likely for plots in newer residential communities to have any access issues. However, if you are planning to buy a lot in an undeveloped area or an older neighborhood, verify the access points with a survey and a title review. In addition, verify the status of utility connections to your plot. Knowing exactly how you will power your house or manage your waste is crucial.  Are there any additional fees for connecting to water and sewer? How to get the Internet and a cable TV connection? What are the rules concerning the installation of a septic tank? Do your homework, and it will ease your path to home ownership. 

5.Research Zoning and Site Restrictions

You will have to consider this aspect carefully before buying any land. Check the following points to ensure you can build the home on the site the way you want:

•Historical information about the site (if it has been reclaimed from a wetland)  

•Restrictive covenants

•HOA rules

•Using and building restrictions 

•Restrictions relating to front and side setbacks

•Zoning requirements 

•Minimum home size requirements

All these factors may affect your use of your chosen site. Without proper research, you may end up in a plot that fails to meet your expectations. There are instances of people paying fines or applying for special permission for deviating a few inches from what is actually allowed by the law. 

The rules change from one state to another, and hence hiring the local experts is the best way forward. Did you know that Florida adopted statewide building codes way back in 2002 under which all builders need to follow the same rules? If you were thinking of asking help from your neighbor to put up those windows, you could be engaging in something illegal and may end up paying a hefty fine. The more viable alternative is to hire one of the on-your-lot builders in Tampa who take care of all the aspects including permits. Many would even help you selecting the right lot. Hire the right professionals, keep our tips in mind, and you will be very close to your dream house.