Land Buying Hell ? Don’t get trapped – 7 things you need to check out!

Buying land is different than buying a home.  You might be thinking “Duhhh,” however you wouldn’t believe some of the situations I have seen,  particularly when the land is in an outlying area and not attached to town or city infrastructure.

Here’s one story I hear all the time.

“Well we were visiting from LA (or NYC or Chicago or any big city and going to the country) and found the most beautiful 40 acre piece of land on the top of the mountains looking out over the Pacific for only a million bucks !  (a lot in their city 10,000 square feet – costs $1m)

Flash forward 2 years

“It’s just ridiculous !  The road and the utilities just to get the house are $1m !  We spent $200,000 and countless hours designing our house now they tell us –  2 years to get the permit

We’re putting the property up for sale!”

For some reason people assume once you buy a piece of land – all you do is build.  But why would you know this stuff?  Lots of realtors don’t know the requirements to build on raw land.  Many spend 95% of their careers selling homes and very little land.

Rules continue to change. Continue reading “Land Buying Hell ? Don’t get trapped – 7 things you need to check out!”

White Walls – Black Roof – Best Architectural Style for your Home ???

La Spec House

White house, black gabled roof, multi paned windows, throw in a few cute dormers.  On the inside you will have the traditional layout of living room, dining room, expanded kitchen slash family room.  The floors will be dark stained hardwood and the walls will be versions of white.  Is this your fantasy home ?  The “hot” style in west Los Angeles and other areas of the country.  Sort of a shabby chic meets New England a la LA!

Don’t get me wrong, I like lots of different styles of homes.  I wouldn’t build this home for myself, but that’s why its called “custom” home building.  I grew up in a home in Connecticut, built in the 1800’s, a “colonial revival.” Litchfield, Connecticut is a whole town of white houses with black shutters.  (Hey note to spec builders – you forgot the black shutters)  This is what professional “spec” builders (people who build homes to re sell) are doing in Los Angeles.  If they are doing it right, it means they are building something that has a wide appeal while maximizing their profit.  Lots of things come into play – just as they do for every job.

  • Local housing market
  • Zoning rules
  • Architectural style
  • Cost of construction

Building in a rural area with more land – you probably wouldn’t build a sub terranian garage, but it might be the best way to get what you want in a dense sub urban area like this one.

The side view shows the below grade garage.   This is a way to get more square footage within the zoning rules in Los Angeles, and more square footage equals more value which means more money to the “spec’ builder.  Obviously the west side of Los Angeles is very expensive.  This house was bought a year ago for $1.4 m – torn down – and the new house is for sale at $4.5m   6500 sf of house on a 7200 sf lot !

LA spec house

Inside – the floors are dark stained wood – lots of white !

LA spec house3