5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Land for a New Home

What to Know about Buying Land in New Hampshire

Buying land to build a new home can be an exciting project. You have the ability to create the home you want from scratch, from the bathroom to the backyard. Of course, looking for the right piece of land for your new home can be the tricky part. A wooded lot just outside of town might seem like the perfect spot on the surface, but problems with drainage or limited zoning ordinances could restrict your ability to build what you want there.

Here is a checklist of questions you should ask before buying and piece of property for a new home.

What are the zoning restrictions?

Zoning ordinances vary from town to town in New Hampshire, and different restrictions apply to different parts of these towns. For instance, a “village district” might require a minimum half-acre lot for a new home, while a “rural district” might require a 3-acre lot. The size of the home, including the number and size of out-buildings allowed, can also depend on the zoning. In some communities, there are even limitations on the kind of materials allowed or the design of the building, especially in historic areas. Make sure the home you envision is allowed on the land you hope to buy.

How wet is it?

If there are delineated wetlands on the property or the water table is especially high there, it may limit your ability to use the property. If there is no public sewer in the area, a soil “perc test” should be done to see if the land can support a septic system.

What is my water source?

Is public water available or will you need a well? Some new subdivisions have shared well water systems that require a fee for use and upkeep. In New Hampshire, all wells that have been drilled in the past 30 years are recorded by the state. You can use this information to find out how deep your neighbors had to drill for water. Town health departments may also keep records about local well water quality, too.

How much work needs to be done to build?

Cutting down trees, blasting into ledge and building long driveways can add significant cost to building your home. Before buying, look into the geology of the property, the grade and if there are any drainage issues.

Does your design fit the land?

Does your dream home design include floor-to-ceiling windows for taking in great views, or roof solar panels for heating hot water? Make sure the lot fits in with your dream plans. If the lot is heavily wooded, has a steep grade or a beautiful view, factor that into your designs.

What are the future plans for the area?

If you are putting all this effort into building a home, you’re likely going to want to live there for many years. If so, take the time to ask the town offices what the plans for the area are in the next decade. Communities are required to create a “master plan” that lays out the vision for the town. Will there be extensive development in your area? Are there plans to add industrial or manufacturing districts nearby? Will there be a road expansion or new housing developments. This is especially important to ask if you’re building a new home to seek privacy.

Are there easements or other deed restrictions on the property?

Landowners can negotiate easements and other deed restrictions without it having much impact on the property. Conservation easements are a popular way for landowners to preserve an especially beautiful part of their property, but it could keep future owners from building the home they want. Also be wary or rights-of-way which could allow utilities or town workers to cut trees and develop the land for roads or power lines.

Dube Plus Construction has been building homes in New Hampshire for nearly two decades and can answer your questions about the process.

How to Choose a Contractor To Build Your or Remodel Home

New home construction, additions and remodeling adds value to your home. Be sure you have the best contractor for the job.

New home construction, additions and remodeling adds value to your home. Be sure you have the best contractor for the job.

Finding a home builder for a renovation project, addition or new home is one of the biggest decisions a homeowner will make. But deciding which one to hire can seem overwhelming. Getting to know the builders in your area will help you learn more about their quality of work, design skills and cost, and will make that decision easier.

Who are the builders in your community?

The best way to become familiar with local builders is to look at newly constructed homes for sale. Read the real estate listings online or in the local paper. Go to open houses of newly constructed homes to get a look at their work. Talk to a real estate agent for names of reputable builders. Of course, word of mouth from trusted friends and relatives is a great way to get names, too.

The New Hampshire Home Builders Association is another great resource. They can provide you with a list of home builders who work in your area.

Talk to people who live in the builder’s homes

Once you’ve found a builder you like, drive by a few homes or subdivisions the builder has constructed. Do you like the look and usability of the home. Are there unique features you like? Do the materials look high-quality?

Scheduling a drive on a Saturday morning when homeowners are out enjoying their yards or doing home projects gives you the opportunity to talk with them. If you’re feeling outgoing, introduce yourself and let the owner know you are considering hiring the builder of their home. Ask them if they like their home, what they’d change, and if they’d hire the builder again. People are usually flattered when you tell them you like their home and are eager to give advice.

Whether you talk to homeowners or not, make sure to carry a notebook in the car. Jot down observations and any questions that come to mind. Take the notebook with you when you meet with the potential builder so you can talk more about the homes you liked.

Ask lots of questions about the design-build process

Once you’ve selected a builder, contact their offices and let them know you’d like to ask them a few questions. Whether you talk directly to the builder or to a member of the sales team, they should be happy to answer any question you might have about the project and the process. Here is a list of questions you will likely want to ask a builder before hiring:

  •   What is your fee structure and what is your required deposit?
  • How long will our project take?
  • How often will you communicate with us about the status of the project and any setbacks?
  • Do you have any references of recent buyers or occupants?
  • Do you have a financing plan available?
  • How much "customizing" can be done versus standard features?
  • Are there options in set floor plan? Can a basement or deck be added?
  • Can appliances be up- or down-graded?
  • If moving into a subdivision, will there be a homeowner’s association or added fees for maintenance?
  • What local permits or building permit fees are required?
  • What are the property taxes in the town or will the renovation affect my property taxes?
  • Do you offer a warranty program?
  • Does the price include landscaping? What if the plants die within a year?
  • Are there any restrictive covenants that could impact the project?
  • If it’s a new home, are there any major development plans for the area in the next five years?

Reaching out to your local builder


Dube Plus manages all aspects of home construction, from new home construction to repairs and home improvement. Our licensed, insured and professional staff will work with you from planning and scheduling to the finishing touches. Contact us today and we can answer all of your home building questions. 

Building a new home can be a joyous or difficult experience. Choose a design-builder that has a proven process in place and more than 26 years experience. Choose Dube Plus.