While the real estate market in Austin and the Central Hill Country continues to be an excellent investment for home owners, there remains a need for more available homes. An attractive alternative to buying a resale home is to find a special piece of land and build on it. Local and out of state buyers are continuing to flood the market in search of available lots in locations like Dripping Springs, Wimberley, Driftwood, Johnson City and Blanco. These smaller towns offer proximity to Austin, exceptional schools and the beauty of the Texas Hill Country.
Shopping for a tract of land to improve can be quite a different experience from purchasing a resale home. If you are not familiar with rural lots, you’ll need to consider several items before you seriously consider your land purchase:
- Acreage: Most commonly, home buyers are looking for a lot between 1 – 5 acres. This size provides them the freedom to roam that is not available in Austin city limits, yet isn’t so large that property taxes and maintenance expenses are prohibitive.
- Views, Trees & Water: What physical features in the land are most appealing to you and your family? While it might be possible to find a lot with a view, nice trees, access to surface water or other features that you desire, it can sometimes be difficult to find a tract that has everything you want. We often advise our clients to do their best to set at least these three items in order of priority.
- School District: Consider the school district in which the property is located. Hays and Blanco Counties boast some very good public schools, and we are seeing more and more families relocating to take advantage of them. School systems like Dripping Springs ISD and Wimberley ISD rate very high on the list of options in the entire Austin area.
- Restrictions and HOA Fees: Many properties have deed restrictions or are located in subdivisions that have HOAs and restrictive covenants that govern what homeowners can and can’t do on the property. These need to be seriously considered before a purchase, to make sure that, among other considerations, the desired use of the land and the type and size of home to be built are permissible. Additionally, HOAs that require membership many times come with additional expense.
- Home Site: No two pieces of land are exactly the same. Buyers need to understand how each tract is different, and understand how aspects like topography, trees and drainage can affect future development on the site. Additionally, future expenses like driveways and utilities should be considered in projecting where the home will be built.
- Utilities: Buyers should consider utility requirements in projecting the cost of building on a rural lot. Rural tracts typically have no city water or sewer system, and electricity might only be available at a boundary of the lot or might be a distance from the property. Land buyers will need to work with their real estate agent to understand their options and potential costs.
It is always important for buyers to select a real estate agent with local knowledge. Rose Real Estate will guide you through these unique considerations and into the next phase – building your dream home!