Should we consult a builder before we buy our lot?
Yes, a competent builder will be aware of evaluation requirements such as fill dirt, soil testing, and lot area coverage ratios. Accurate information allows you to make an informed buying decision because all municipalities are different.
Should we renovate an existing structure or consider new construction?
This depends, if your property is in an A or V flood zone, which means the 50% rule dictates the amount of renovation permitted. New construction does not have this limitation.
What is the 50% rule?
This rule allows you to spend 50% of the structure value for renovation costs. To determine this value you subtract the land value from the total value of your property and then divide this amount by two.
What are A and V zones?
These are flood zones requiring you to elevate your structure to a certain level above mean sea level. V zones have the additional requirement that the structure be built on piling.
Do we have enough land to build the square footage we want?
This depends on the size of the house and the local front, rear and side setback requirements. A survey of the property and the local zoning maps will give you this information.