First time land/ new construction (San Diego County)

2 Replies

Greetings BP community! About a year ago I posted a question about developing a container home in San Diego with a limited budget of $200,000. Since then I’ve gotten a VA construction loan for $480,000. My real estate agent and I have been looking for some lots and I can not find a piece of “shovel ready” land so i’ve given up on that. My criteria currently is that the land have water, electricity, sewage, maybe phone (I don’t know if VA inspections require this). I’ve found a lot to match these requirements in spring valley but the land is steep. The listing agent calls it a rolling hill. It is zoned Semi Rural and is .52 acres. The land is 25% of my loan amount and I will be trying to build a single family 2000-3000 sq ft home (depending on the foundation/ earthwork costs). I’ll need a soil test to get an idea of what kind of foundation I’ll need. I’m thinking it will be pier foundation. Where should I get started? Do I need to open escrow on the land first to attain geographical data? What would be the best way to mitigate risks? What kind of team do I need for this? - Currently I’ve reached out to a contractor that specializes in shipping container homes in San Diego. They have an in house architect. They tell me that i’ll need to own the land first before we plan and estimate. Their rate is $80 - $130 a sq ft. (Permits included) (not including foundation) - I have a real estate agent. How can I accurately predict costs? What am I missing? Caveat: Home needs to be built in 9 months Contractor estimates 2-6 months. Background: I am a plumber in the navy so I am somewhat familiar with construction. This is the first time I am doing this. This will be my first home.

Christian - You may be able to negotiate a little site investigation before you actually purchase the property. The seller may want a geo-technical report anyway if your deal falls through. Speak to the contractor's in-house architect and ask them what they need to see in the geo tech report in order to feel confident designing the house there. Then, as a condition of closing escrow, put in a clause that the deal depends on the findings in the geo tech report. It sounds like you have everyone you may need to get going.