So, you’re thinking about building a custom home! The first step, after finding a custom home contractor to build your home, is to find a suitable lot on which to build. Why do we recommend finding a contractor before you even have land on which to build? Your contractor is a building expert. They most likely have knowledge that you don’t have in terms of what to look for in the soil, what might cause challenges, the zoning of the area to predict what the area might look like in the future, and more.


Here is a list of things to consider before purchasing a piece of vacant land or property to build on:

  • City or County Zoning requirements
    • Perhaps you’re looking for rural living and the lot you’re looking at is currently zoned to eventually put in a development.
  • Building setback requirements
    • Setback requirements may hinder you from building the home of your dreams depending on the lot size and your square footage.
  • What kind of soil does the lot have?
    • Soil types vary all over the Denver area. The soil plays a big role in the cost of your home’s foundation. You may be required to over-excavate and bring in better soil, pour caissons, or build a structural floor.  All of these scenarios will increase the cost to build on the lot.
  • Is the lot a hillside or flat?
    • A hillside with a view is beautiful but, depending on the soil and the structure of the hillside, the lot may not be a viable build-site.
    • The topography of your lot will also determine if your home can have a walk-out basement.
  • What will it take to bring utilities and infrastructure to the property?
    • Power, water, and septic are modern necessities — it’s important to factor in how much it would cost to run a connection to a powerline, if there is a city water connection, or if you’d be drilling a well, and if the soil is viable for septic if there is no city sewer to which you can connect.
  • Is the property located or near a flood zone?
    • This could cause potential problems in the future. Your contractor could include flood mitigation in the building plan, but you may not get approval to buy the lot to build if there are potential flooding problems.
  • What will the adjoining properties look like when they are eventually developed?
    • This is a way of looking at if you’ll be right up against your neighbors or if you’ll be in a more private, open space. You may have an amazing view while the land is under development, but once all the homes are constructed your view becomes obstructed.
  • What kind of landscaping will you want your property to have?
    • If the property is located within the boundaries of a Homeowner’s Association, there may be specific landscape requirements. Some areas require a natural native landscape, while others will allow you to be more adventurous with your plantings.
  • Are you considering adding a casita, RV garage, workshop, pool, or other outbuildings to the property eventually?
    • It’s important to look into the future, no matter how distant projects like this might feel, to see if the land you’re considering has the space and zoning for outbuildings.


Keep your contractor on speed dial as you search for land to set your project for success.  Having a lay of the land, literally, will help your contractor design the home of your dreams.


Family-owned and operated since 1985, Timber Ridge Properties has maintained a reputation for being Denver’s top custom home builder. What has kept us at the top? Award-winning high-end custom homes in a highly personal, boutique atmosphere. Our homes, which have been built throughout the Denver Metro area, are coveted for their high level of craftsmanship, quality of design, and attention to detail. Are you and your family thinking about building a custom home and want to get on our schedule? Contact the custom home building experts at Timber Ridge Properties today!