1. We are planning to build a spec house. How does having a wooded, "secluded feeling" large lot (but not actually secluded) in a rural area (western massachusetts, hill/mountainous area) impact selling price vs. a cleared lot on level land, in general. Having a hard time finding comps for new construction that are on wooded/secluded lots. I found comps but they are all on cleared, level land (which is what I based our financial assumptions on.)
Lot was cheap and big, part of a small isolated "subdivision" closer to a larger city in the area, and due to topology and wooded area, the lot "feels" more secluded. We intend on keeping most of the tree cover on the edges of the property to keep the "in the woods" look and we will be positioning the house so the neighbors' houses aren't as obvious to give it more of a "secluded" feel (although it will also have a larger back yard, etc.) Surrounding houses are a mix of styles, mostly from 70's (dated.)
I know that having a building lot with the "secluded" look will limit our potential buyer pool, but, since the woods/trees/topology will (mostly) block the view of the surrounding neighbors, the hope is that it will allow us to build a higher-end (quartz, viking appliances, etc) house that would potentially otherwise look "out of place" if it were built on a level, completely cleared lot. Since we are doing most of the work ourselves, this allows a much higher profit for us vs. a lower-end builder grade house..
I'm not able to find any comps fitting this situation (new construction, wooded lot, etc), as all I can find are "tract" homes on level, cleared land.
2. Based on the above, debating whether vinyl siding is appropriate vs. fiber cement, etc.. Especially since we are trying to go for a higher-end look (see above.)
can't really give you a ton of advice without knowing the town. But in my opinion (and I'm a consumer and not a builder)
1) don't massively over build for the town, you want to make sure you will appraise and comps will support
2) in the price point you are going for, have any houses in that town sold for what you think you will ask?
3) consider the type of person will live this in relation to the neighbors. If you are building a million dollar home in a division of 100k ranches, some buyers will be turned off.
4) don't cheap out on siding. If I were looking at a an expensive house with fancy appliances and good finishes I would expect cement board. Vinyl on higher end home tells me that the builder is being cheap, ran out of money or is trying to screw me. If you cut corners on the siding I'll wonder where else you cut corners.
Don't cheap out on the first thing a buyer sees. I'd rather have a cheaper stove than cheap siding. You can get consumer stuff that looks like and works better than a Viking
As for the trees. If this house is truly way better than the surrounding homes seclusion is a positive. Just make sure the trees are away from the house that the buyer has options for solar and satellite dish. You want sun exposure to the house and expose any nice views from the home. Don't block any mountains etc.
I hope this is helpful as I'm just giving you my opinions based on what I would want if buying a home (I live in a 70s style home) where they are building the 1.5 million mcmansions everywhere they can fit a bulldozer. We are talking 560k for 1/4 acre with a teardown on it.
Good luck and please post pictures on your journey!
If you can't comp it neither can an appraiser / lender and they will likely lowball it. I'd still build it but I'd stay moderate builder grade