Bought a piece of land, and now you’re wondering how to prep raw land for a manufactured home? Prepping your land is a key element of building a stable home.
There are a few things you need to do to prep raw land for a manufactured home, including site design, checking permits and legalities, land clearing, excavating and rough grading, removing debris, creating a budget, and hiring professional help.
Building a house comes with its fair share of challenges, one of the major ones being prepping the raw land on which it is supposed to be built. Missing out on prepping raw land before building a home can result in serious consequences, such as a weak foundation or missing permits, which may lead to the demolition of the house.
We consulted architect Aaron Fitcher and his respective contractor colleague, Jim Allan, to find out the necessary steps we must take to prep raw land for building a home. This article will, therefore, try to cover all bases of how to prep raw land for a manufactured home based on expert opinion.
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Steps to Prep Raw Land for a Manufactured Home
There’s something mesmerizing about standing on your private land and letting the soil fall through the gaps of your fingers. The pride and independence you feel when surveying your personal property are truly unmatched. There are indeed many great reasons to purchase raw land, but the best one is most definitely – the opportunity to build a home.
Considering building a home from scratch offers excellent earning potential as it increases the value of the raw land by three to five times its original price. However, that will only be possible if you prep it right and avoid all the pitfalls. So, without further ado, here are a few steps you need to take to prep raw land for a manufactured home.
The first step to prepping your land is to create a comprehensive site plan. You can’t possibly conduct land surveys, soil tests, and design construction blueprints by yourself, so you’ll need pros, such as contractors, architects, and designers, to handle this. The information you’ll gain from this step will eventually help you create a list of tasks you’ll need to conduct to prepare the land for construction.
Although most people choose to take the backseat in this process, you should participate in making at least some decisions, especially if you’re planning to live in the house that is going to be built there.
Your initial vision for the house might not be exactly as you imagined. However, making clear choices and decisions at the commencement of the process will help your crew visualize what you want, enabling them to work more effectively towards your goal.
Having answers to questions, such as what kind of sun and wind exposure you want, where utility connections must go, or what side your home’s windows should face, will make it a lot easier before your team starts prepping the land.
Permits and Legalities
You will have to ensure that your contractor has gotten all the obligatory building permits issued or is in the process of doing so during the prepping phase of raw land. It’s critical for you to personally ensure everything is in place before the concrete starts pouring, especially since construction can be quite expensive.
Make sure to recheck things, such as setbacks and easements. Setbacks are restrictions where structures are to be built according to property lines, whereas easements grant third-party access to the land. These are just two of the many land and property restrictions that you need to look out for.
Once your construction plans are ready, you will have to get your raw land cleared up. The cost of clearing usually depends on the condition of the land site. If the site is crowded, you will need to clear it up by cutting down trees, taking out rocks, leveling slopes, or conducting other extreme topography, which will cost more money. However, on the other hand, if you don’t have to conduct any of these activities, you will simply need to excavate and rough grade, which will cost you much less.
While hiring professionals to conduct these activities is the right move, you can also turn this into a DIY project to alleviate some of the costs. Also, since land clearing is extremely crucial as a part of land prepping, make sure to account for it in your land purchasing budget.
Excavating and Rough Grading
If your house design plan features a basement, you will have to conduct an extensive digging and excavation process using heavy machinery. Most contracts prefer pouring the concrete for the foundation of the driveway simultaneously. Rough grading also creates a layout for these elements while laying the bases for road access, utility placement, and electrical connections.
Rough grading is mostly conducted at the same time as the excavation to balance the fill and cut, which means using the removed soil for the foundation to fill up the surrounding area for an even and leveled surface. The surrounding land must feature a slight slope away from the house to ensure proper drainage away from the foundation of the house. Effectively executed rough grading will help set your home up for the final grading.
During the excavation and rough grading process, you should also take steps for erosion prevention and drainage control, not just for the house but also for the construction process. Since the work site will be a mere pile of dirt at this time, even a teensy bit of rain could lead to land erosion. Moreover, you’ll also need to make sure that the adjacent road spaces are safe for trucks and other heavy vehicles to come and go onto the construction site.
Removing and Reusing Debris
Once the excavation and rough grading process is over, you’ll need to get rid of all the debris. Depending on the space restrictions, any rocks, trees, vegetation, and unusable dirt will have to either be taken away, reused, or left somewhere on the land. Either way, it’s critical to have a plan in place for all the debris before it starts to pile up.
Since topsoil can generally be reused after the house is built and has entered the landscaping phase, many contractors suggest moving aside the topsoil during the excavation phase to be used later on. Besides topsoil, some other materials can be pretty useful as well. For instance, chopped-down trees can be used as firewood or included in the construction of the house, dirt can be employed to fill up low areas, and rocks can be used to improve the aesthetic appeal of the property.
Overall, hiring professionals to remove or dispose of debris from your land can be much more expensive than utilizing it in a productive way. Another option you have is to burn and bury debris, but you’ll have to check municipal laws.
Creating a Budget and Hiring Professionals
Prepping raw land for a manufactured home can be tiring and financially draining. Since the tasks involved in the prep can add up pretty quickly, it’s critical to have a budget set in place before purchasing any piece of land. After all, you don’t want to purchase a plot only to discover that constructing there will cost you an arm and a leg.
If you’re experienced with construction projects, you may even be able to get some of the prepping work done by yourself. However, sooner or later, you will have to hire professionals. The best way to go about this is to work and participate actively as one of the contractors responsible for organizing the team.
In simple words, set a reasonable and rational picture for what you can afford and then proceed to calculate the costs of land preparation before taking any steps.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down because of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling