When building a family home, you can expect to pay roughly $100-$200 per square foot on average. Although this is usually more expensive than buying an existing home, building your own dream country home can be well worth the investment. You’ll benefit from a peaceful environment, slower pace of life, and a larger plot with a home built exactly to your tastes. Before purchasing land, it is important to research all regulations and restrictions to ensure everything goes to plan.
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It’s essential to know the land you’re interested in allows for the permits you want to apply for. However, zoning codes in the country can be difficult to clarify. Contact the local development committee to book a meeting with a local planner who’ll inform you of what development is or isn’t possible on the land you’re interested in. In some cases, buyers are able to request exceptions to local codes — these are typically variances or conditional-use permits involving specific requirements. For example, you may come up against conditional restrictions like size and height limits for a building on sloping ground or building a set distance away from a waterway in order to receive a permit to build.
The bigger your land, the bigger your land tax rates. Texas, for example, has land tax rates from anywhere as high as 1.2% to over 2% of market value. Fortunately, however, wildlife exemptions allow Texas landowners to have their property taxed based on the land’s productive capacity rather than its market value — resulting in dramatically lower taxes. To qualify for a wildlife exemption, your land must either be appraised as timber land or have an agriculture exemption. Although it’s possible for a property to switch to wildlife valuation from market value without having an ag exemption, this is a widespread occurrence.
Water utilities should never be taken for granted in rural areas. Before purchasing a piece of land, check if the owner is aware of any underground water sources. You need to make sure there’s water flow in sufficient supply for your needs. In some areas, land without adequate water supply is prohibited from development.
Building your own home in the country takes considerable planning, research, and commitment. By taking your time to understand zoning codes, land tax rates, and water utilities, your rewards will outweigh your efforts.