How We Found Our Dream Property to Build On - And How You Can Too!

Have you ever dreamed of building your own home but didn't know where to start? My husband and I were in the same boat until we discovered some valuable tips and tricks that helped us...

Have you ever dreamed of building your own home but didn't know where to start? My husband and I were in the same boat until we discovered some valuable tips and tricks that helped us find our perfect plot of land. In this article, I'll share our journey and provide you with six key steps to help you find land to build on.

The Search Begins

Our quest started back in 2017 when we moved to Central Oregon. Like many others, we started our search by working with a real estate agent and visiting potential properties. However, nothing felt right, and we began considering the idea of building instead of buying.

Narrowing Down the Options

We set our sights on finding a quiet and friendly neighborhood with ample space, great views, and proximity to amenities. We wanted at least an acre of flat land with utilities available and a southern orientation. We also desired a location within a 15-minute drive of downtown and nature trails. By narrowing down these criteria, we could focus our search and increase our chances of finding the right property.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

While our agent provided us with listings that matched our needs, we quickly realized that land options were limited and not always listed on the market. So, we took a proactive approach. We scoured real estate listing sites like Zillow and Redfin and even reached out to a land broker specializing in undeveloped properties. By casting a wide net, we opened ourselves up to more possibilities.

Satellites and Secret Campsites

One tool that proved invaluable was Google Earth. By using satellite views, we could identify open parcels in our preferred areas and spot potential water rights based on green patches in the desert landscape. This allowed us to filter out unsuitable lots and save driving time. We also took the opportunity to explore the neighborhoods in person, talking to homeowners and gaining valuable insights about the area.

One of the first properties we explored on the outskirts of town. It was five acres on a gentle slope with lots of old-growth juniper trees. One of the first properties we explored on the outskirts of town. It was five acres on a gentle slope with lots of old-growth juniper trees.

Uncovering Hidden Gems

Next, we delved into the county assessor's office. By researching property information online, we learned about zoning, values, and other important details. This information helped us understand the possibilities and restrictions of each property. We also contacted the owners directly to inquire about potential sales or subdivisions. Through this process, we gained a wealth of knowledge that ultimately expedited our decision-making.

The Power of Word of Mouth

We should never underestimate the power of our network. We spread the word about our desire to build a house to everyone we knew. From friends to hairstylists and even dental hygienists, we let people in on our plans. This approach led us to a chance encounter with a real estate agent at a kids' party. Her advice to consider tear-down properties changed everything. We realized that tearing down an existing structure and starting anew could save us time, money, and headaches.

This rural five-acre plot had an amazing view of the Cascades, plus a substantial price tag to go with it. This rural five-acre plot had an amazing view of the Cascades, plus a substantial price tag to go with it.

The Online Hunt

Once we adjusted our search criteria, we scoured real estate listing sites like Zillow and Redfin, as well as niche platforms such as LandWatch. We signed up for instant email notifications, ensuring that we would be among the first to know about new listings. It was during a break in our search that our dream property unexpectedly appeared in an email. Fate had finally intervened!

Our Dream Becomes a Reality

The property we found was a teardown with a 1974 mobile home, utilities already connected, and a driveway in place. While we couldn't live in the mobile home during construction, the advantages outweighed this inconvenience. We also had to replace the septic system, but we saw it as an opportunity for a fresh start. With the guidance of our county building department and the knowledge we gained from our extensive research, we were able to move forward with confidence.

Just a few months after we called off our search to take a break from house hunting, a tear-down property hit the market, and we knew it was The One. Just a few months after we called off our search to take a break from house hunting, a tear-down property hit the market, and we knew it was The One.

Your Journey Starts Here

Our search for land to build on was an adventure filled with twists and turns. Through perseverance, research, and a little luck, we found our dream property. By following these six tips, you too can navigate the challenges and uncover hidden gems. So, start dreaming and get ready to embark on your own home-building journey!

Follow along as Garden Betty Builds a House:

  • And Just Like That, We Are Officially Landowners
  • Why We Decided to Build a Custom Home
  • Pre-Construction Progress: Septic Feasibility, House Plans, and Property Cleanup
  • How We Found Land to Build On—and How You Can, Too
  • A Surprise Move With a Silver Lining
  • The Home Building Begins: A Recap of the Last 5 Years
  • Demo Day: Tearing Down Our Old House
  • What You Should Know Before Buying Land (My Real-Life Tips)
  • Construction Loans: What I Wish I'd Known As a First-Time Borrower
  • How to Get a Construction Loan While Being Self-Employed—My Experience

View the Web Story on how to find land to build on.

Now that you have some insider knowledge, go out there and make your dream home a reality!

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