Home Buying Process – How to Find Land
Mousetrap: All right. All right. Thanks for tuning back into the latest episode of Doublewide Dudes. We’re going to go ahead and jump into a new series and we’re going to talk about the whole home buying process basically from start to finish. Say your family decided to get into mobile home. We’ll show you Steps 1 and all the way to the finish line. But on a side note. We’ve really had a wild week, haven’t we AP?
AP: Yeah. You know it’s hard to sometimes remember that we’re only four and a half months into this brand-new company. But man the momentum’s just crazy. We got over 2100 followers on Facebook, over 600 downloads on our Podcast, we just closed on customers 9 and 10. Big thanks to the Galindo and Genteman family for giving us the opportunity to earn their business this weekend. But things are really starting to pick up Mousetrap.
Mousetrap: Yeah. The momentum really is picking up man. I like the vibe at the office. We’re about to get into the new sales lot here in a few weeks. Yeah. It’s definitely a game changer.
AP: Yeah. Yeah. Just awesome. When you can create a business, create a company where everyone wins. Our vendors win, they’re a big help of making all this happen. Our customers win and when we help folks change their lives, then we get to put food on our table as well.
Mousetrap: Yeah, 100 percent. But yeah, it’s really important to know what you’re doing when you decide to make the jump to get into a mobile home. Often I have customers call in and they want information on the home and they think the process is easy. Our job is to make it easy, it’s what we do. But there’s a lot of moving parts.
AP: Yeah. There’s a lot that goes into it.
Mousetrap: Yeah. To finally getting your keys and moving into your home. And the first is going to be basically knowing where we’re going to put the home.
Mousetrap: Right. Some of the things that you have to consider is the commute to work, school districts if you have kiddos, distance from family or relatives and friends or really just the overall lifestyle that you live. You’re going to have to pinpoint an area that you would like to live.
AP: Right. Right. I think one of the biggest questions folks need to ask themselves if they’re looking for the manufactured home route, is country living right for you? Especially if you’re looking to build on private land. Here in the city of San Antonio, in the major metro areas in and around Texas, the parcels of land that are zone for manufactured home construction are going to be at least 20 to 30 minutes away from the downtown area. There’s a lot of pros that come with that. Some folks enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life. Most of the folks decide to go the mobile manufactured home route want a quieter, simpler lifestyle. But that’s probably one of the first decisions you’ve got to make going down this home buying process. Is country living right for you or would you prefer to be closer to the city?
Mousetrap: Yeah. When you make that decision to get out of the current situation that you’re in and get into mobile home, you don’t necessarily have to live in the middle of nowhere. You have the greater area of San Antonio and all the surrounding cities. You have Floresville, La Vernia, Poteet, Pleasanton. Ernest lives over in Castroville. New Braunfels, Seguin, really anywhere that’s going to be zoned out to allow a mobile home is going to be a short commute away from what you’re normally used to.
AP: Yeah. A few extra minutes.
AP: But that’s an important thing to consider. Are you willing to drive a few extra minutes to own your own piece of Texas?
Mousetrap: One of the first challenges is finding a piece of land. How would customers go about AP?
AP: Well there’s a number of resources online where you can shop for land just like we allow you to shop for homes on our website. Right off the bat landsoftexas.com, getsomeland.com, landwatch and of course you’ve got Trulia and Zillow where you can narrow down your search to just look for parcels of land. And of course, you’ve got your local Real Estate Agents once you get a little more serious and want to physically look and walk around your own piece of land.
Mousetrap: Okay. So they can jump on the website, type in a zip code, an area that’s close to them or an area they think they’ll like to live and basically populate some options for them.
Mousetrap: Yeah. Some of the things that I tell my customers to do is really just do some small filters. You can filter by smallest to biggest or least expensive or the most expensive and that’ll give you a good idea of the comps and the average price of what land is going for in that area.
AP: And if anything it just allows them to put a budget together like we talked about in the last episode. But we also offer a free land locator service for our customers if that’s something they want a little more hands-on help with.
Mousetrap: Yeah. Those are some good sources to get your feet wet and of course every piece of land in Texas is different. And because you have to think about flood plains as well as possible Wind Zone 2 area. And if you’re closer to the hill country it’s a bit more rocky and improvements in site work may be a bit different. But AP, what would you say the most important thing to consider when someone’s looking for a piece of property?
AP: Well the biggest thing to look for right out the gate is the zoning restrictions in a given area. If you’re looking at a piece of property and it’s got a great price, great location, but you’re not allowed to build a manufactured home out there, then it really doesn’t do any good. It’s really important to do this research up front. Just last week Mousetrap, we got a call from a lady who had bought a home cash from another dealer up the road and unfortunately neither her or the company that was selling her the home did this research. It actually wasn’t until after she got her home delivered and had already paid for it, that she found out she wasn’t allowed to put a manufactured home on that property.
Mousetrap: Oh man.
AP: Those kind of mistakes get very expensive in this industry Mousetrap. So it’s important to check with zoning, not just with the city or the county but also with the HOA, if you happen to have one in that area, to see if your home is allowed to be put there, see if there are any size restrictions, see if there are any siding requirements, age requirements, any anything like that.
Mousetrap: Yeah. I know that may sound a bit difficult. When I explain that to customers they have a bit of hesitation that they want to do that. But it really is just a simple call to the county office to your city.
Mousetrap: Finding out, if this zip code or this address can have a new manufactured home put on there. Sometimes I run into people that have mobile homes in or around the area. But when it comes to getting a new home built after a certain year, you may have to go site built because they cut out the manufacturing part of it.
AP: Right. Right. Zoning changes all the time and this isn’t something you want to make assumptions on. But like you said, it doesn’t have to be complicated Mousetrap. A simple call to the county or city development office and they’ll give you the answers over the phone.
Mousetrap: Yeah. Yeah. It really is a simple phone call away. They’ll be glad to help out and let you know if you’re able to move in that direction. Other than zoning AP, what’s going to be another important thing that they’re going to have to look out for when they find a piece of property?
AP: Well after zoning, I would say the second most important part when looking at a piece of property or when deciding to build a manufactured home on a piece of property you already own is, is that land improved? And what I mean by improved is, does it have the utilities, the water, the sewer, the electric already in place or is that something you’re going to need to have done out there and account for in your budget.
Mousetrap: Okay. So water, septic, electric, everything that’s going to have a house running, you’re going to have to make sure that’s lined up.
Mousetrap: Right. And I know sometimes when people buy property and there’s an old home on there and they’ve got to demo the home, the septic was put in several years back, 60s, 70s, possibly even before that. But sometimes a septic isn’t up to par, right?
Mousetrap: Or maybe there is a smaller home there and you’re upgrading, you have to make sure that the septic is usable for the amount of people that you’re going to have living in the home.
AP: Right. Right. It’s not just the septic. I was thinking Lamar, just this past Sunday, we were visiting with them and of course, we did a site inspection prior to them coming to close on their home. But they had electric there and that’s running their home right now. But these newer homes are run on 200 amp service. And a lot of the older homes a few years back were run on 100 amp. So just like with the zoning, you don’t want to make any assumptions when it comes to the improvements on your property. It’s really important that you have a professional, an expert go out there and do a site inspection so you know all the details and all the ins and outs of what you’re fixing to get into with your home purchase.
Mousetrap: Yeah. Yeah. The site inspection is going to be really crucial. And just like AP was saying, you can’t be making any assumptions. You have to look up to the septic tank or the size of the meter loop. Let’s say you’re working with a realtor AP and they tell you this land is improved, do they stop there? Are they going to take their word for it?
AP: Well Mousetrap, just because a piece of land is improved doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be any additional expenses to get it ready for when your home comes in. I think back to Leroy. He was on the Podcast with us, a few weeks back. He bought a piece of property that was improved. And what that meant was, there was electric service at the street. There was water service at the street. But after that, he had to pay a considerable amount of money to get what’s called a water tap, tap into the city lines there. We had to bring in a power pole and bring in what’s called a meter loop so that we could tie into the home there the electric service there and all that costs money. So you really want to make sure you’re accounting for that when you’re shopping for that piece of land and when you’re putting together your overall home building budget.
Mousetrap: Yeah I would agree. Those are going to be the two main factors, having it improved and the zoning. 95 percent of customers that I talk to and when we’re talking about getting a new piece of property, that’s the go to information that you need to get right off the bat. But for your other 5 percent some of the small things that you also have to watch out for, as I touched on earlier, is flood plains. What do they have to look out for when they’re possibly in an area that floods AP?
AP: Well when you’re looking at land, sometimes you’re going to find land that’s a lot less expensive than the land around it and generally there’s a good reason for that. One of the biggest reasons why land may be on the market for a lower price than the other pieces of property around it is because that property is in a flood plain. That definitely doesn’t mean you can’t build a home on there, it just means there’s going to be some additional cost to build up the foundation or build up the home set to get it out of that flood plain. FEMA has a really cool tool on their website at fema.gov, where you can actually input the address and see if that piece of property is in a flood plain.
Mousetrap: Okay. Say they find that piece of property and it’s an area where they want. If it’s in a flood plain, what are the steps they have to do, that way they’re set up for success?
AP: Well the only way to really know what all has to be done to that property to make sure you, your family and your investment in protected, is to get what’s called an elevation certificate. Basically, what that is a local survey company will come out there. They generally run anywhere between $400.00 to $1,000.00. They shoot elevations and shoot grades on your property and they basically print up a report that tells us as the builder how high we have to build up your foundation and how high we have to set your home to make sure the next time you get a good rain your brand new home is not going to wash away.
Mousetrap: Okay. So the Elevation Certificate should take care of the flood area and you can go to fema.gov to see if the property that you’re interested in is going to need that. So to sum it up AP, when you’re making the jump and you finally decide to get out of your current situation and start living in a mobile home, you’re going to have to look for zoning on the new piece of property. You’re going to have to look for improvements, what all the land has and what all needs to go in it. A simple site survey would be able to take care of that, right?
Mousetrap: And then also the flood plains. If the land that you’re looking for is an area with floods, an elevation certificate’s going to be the route to take care of that. And on a side note that reminds me of the wind zone requirements down by the coast. The state does require a wind zone 2 on your tie down.
AP: Right. Right. It’s not an option. If you’re in a wind zone 2 county which is basically any county that touches the coast, the state actually requires that not only that your home be tied down to wind zone 2 requirements, but also that it’s built at the factory to wind zone 2 construction standards. So again, not a big deal. Definitely something that we can take care of. But the biggest takeaway I hope our audience gets today Mousetrap is you really got to surround yourself with a team of professionals that can make sure you’re setting you and your family up for success. With all the things you mentioned, zoning, improvements, flood plains, wind zone. There’s a lot that goes into deciding whether a piece of property is the right place to build a home for you and your family. And more than anything, we just want to make sure folks are setting themselves up for success.
Mousetrap: Yeah. Okay. Well, that does it for this episode guys. This is the first one on the home buying process. If land’s not going to be the route you want to go to, tune into the next one where we’re going to talk about getting into a mobile home park. We’ll give you the ins and outs of choosing the right community if you do decide to go that direction. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll talk to you in the next one.