[Tools & Resources]

Site Search: New Construction

Finding a site to build a community residence on can be difficult, as there are many things to consider and criteria that must be met. We asked CIL Senior Real Estate Developer Peter Benvie for some advice on finding the "perfect site" (or a not-so-perfect site that can be made perfect) for a new construction community residence project.


What information do you need to know from the agency before you start site selection for a new construction community residence?


Most important is the location of the new home, and the agency’s primary and secondary choice of towns. Access and proximity to services, amenities, public transportation, and family is also considered. We need to know the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed in the residence. Other factors include if they need privacy, such as natural boarders, fencing, etc. and if they prefer city utilities, water, and sewer, which most prefer, and if well and septic are options, as some areas only have well and septic or some combination of both.


What makes a ‘perfect’ site to build a community residence?


Well, the ideal lot would be relatively flat, include city water and sewer, permeable soils to handle stormwater, and have no wetland issues. It would be near local services needed for clients and be a minimum of .75 acres, though usually 1 acre or more is preferred. The site would also be free of zoning regulations that would impede development.

But really, anywhere you can put a 3,200 SF footprint for a single-family home with enough room to park 8 cars – we want to know about it. We can often work on making a site “perfect,” if the math works. Just because something needs a lot of fill doesn’t mean it won’t work for us. The important thing for us to know is how much will it cost – for example, say the lot is $30,000, but we need $170,000 of fill – that’s a lot of fill, but since it ends up costing us about $200,000, which is what the “perfect” site will run you, it works out.


What are the challenges of finding and purchasing a site for construction?


Cost is usually one of the biggest challenges. Finding the perfect site within budget can be difficult. Price range for a lot is around $200,000 and up, depending on the location and whether there is water, gas, and sewer. Other issues that sometimes arise are zoning regulations, wetlands and waterways issues, proximity to neighbors, and proximity to other group homes. Often, we do not find out about proximity issues until we have already made an offer.


What is a deal breaker in a site for new construction?


Deal breakers for a lot are if the lot needs substantial site work, such as an extremely long driveway or a huge amount of fill added or removed. Another would be if a wetlands permit requires substantial wetlands replication or remediation.


Do you know of a site that fits the bill? Let us know at [email protected]