This page may be printed out and used to help you with your planning

Selecting and Buying Your Home Site

Determine your needs...

     Begin your land search by identifying the general area you wish to live in, the size of lot or acreage you want and the type of land - flat or hilly, wooded or cleared. Then determine the amount of money you can spend on land. This will allow you and any real estate agents or land brokers you work with to limit your search to properties that truly interest you.

Make sure the land meets all requirements...

     In addition to your personal criteria, your house site must be able to meet building, health and other local agency requirements, be zoned for manufactured homes, and be able to physically accommodate the house. Of course, the property also must have a clear title, or you must be able to take title.

     Also, find out whether the land is in city or country jurisdiction and what the local building permit requirements are. While there is a uniform state set up code, different counties may have different guidelines for septic systems and other elements of development. You should also check with your lender to make certain the site qualifies for a land package. Some lenders, for example, may not finance a home on a private road.

     You can get much of this information from the real estate agent who you are working with. Your manufactured home dealer and lender also can help you.

Get professional advice on suitability and costs...

     When you have found property you like, ask your manufactured home dealer to inspect the site. He or she can advise you whether the lot is large enough for the home and can offer suggestions on different ways of placing the house on the property. Also have a general contractor look at the land and give you an estimate on site development costs and the time needed to complete the job. The contractor's estimate should include such items as site clearing, grading, footings, water supply, sewer or septic system, electrical supply and road access, as well as any necessary permit costs and connection fees. The estimate may also include porches, gutters, and other amenities. Getting a detailed bid will help you avoid any unseen costs and will prepare you for knowledgeable negotiations with the real estate agent or owner.

Negotiate the details before buying the land...

     When negotiating the land purchase, it is important to remember that you are a "cash" buyer. The seller will not have to hold a contract. He or she will be cashed out at the closing of the loan and that sometimes can translate into a discount when buying property. Depending on the type of loan you plan on getting, the seller may need to agree to allow you to develop the site prior to closing, and upon receipt of a letter of commitment from your lender that your loan is approved. An FHA land package loan, for example, can close only after all work has been completed.

     When you and the seller have agreed on the price and any conditions to the sale, an earnest money agreement will be drawn up. If any development questions are still unanswered at this time, (e.g. the ability of the property to percolate), you may want to include a contingency clause on the earnest money agreement. If local neighborhood covenants apply to the land, ask for a copy and review them carefully. Once the earnest money agreement is drawn up and signed, you can proceed to other aspects of the deal.


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