Investing In Land – Sloped Property
The actual cost of land is seldom the purchase price. In commercial real estate the rough value of a building can be expressed as the selling price plus the cost of advertising required to get the public to find you. Cheaper buildings may cost more in the long run that more expensive property on busy highways if you have to spend more on advertising.
Cheap land may wind up being a larger investment if building costs are significantly higher. Such is the case with sloped land. If you can find a builder who utilizes techniques that render construction on sloped land not much more than flat land you can find real bargains.
Some slopes are better than others. For building lots land sloping towards the road is preferable to lower the costs of storm water runoff to the sewer. Sloping lots also mean water will flow towards your home if the building does not take place at the top of the hill so expect increased costs surrounding your foundation work.
How much slope is too much slope? Generally speaking anything up to a ten percent slope – one foot of elevation gain across ten feet of ground – will not affect projected construction costs. You can self-survey targeted property by measuring down the slope with a piece of ten-foot string. Then stake the string on the slope at the high end of the rise and pull the string taut, using a small level vial called a “string level” (available cheaply at most hardware stores) to keep it level. Measure the distance from the opposite end of the string to the ground and calculate the slope. If the degree of slope is beyond 15 percent expect building costs to begin inching up as you evaluate the true cost of the land.
Consider accessibility in evaluating slopes on a property. If it looks to be a problem it does not matter what the actual slope measures out to be. Of course there are also advantages to a sloped piece of property that may make extra building expenses worthwhile. A home built on sloped property tends to take on the personality of its environment. The design of the building can allow for more use of the lower levels and basements need not be smothered by four subterranean walls.
Hillside living can be a luxury but if you manage drainage, construction and access issues it can be an affordable luxury.