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Living the Dream

Vacant lots + Building your own home in LaLaLand

We've all done it- envisioned building a home of our own design, on our own plot of land, living that American Dream.

But is it even possible in Los Angeles?

Answer: It's not impossible, but should be done with great finesse and caution. Read below for a summary of 4 issues you should consider. 

1. Surprisingly, there is more vacant land for sale this year than there was at this same time last year in Los Angeles county. The catch?

The majority of this land is on sloped hillside. That means more $$$ to build. Building on sloped land means you will need a retaining wall and supporting concrete pillars to start. This means without even beginning your actual home construction you may need to invest much more time and money than you planned for.

2. Many of the vacant lots can be found in the surrounding areas of Shadow Hills and Malibu which can provide gorgeous views and scenery. The downside?

You may be spending more of your life living in your car than your new home. These areas can mean a long commute if you work in popular pockets such as Culver City, Hollywood or Downtown. If you work from home and you don't mind being a little more removed, your options look much more attractive. Also, as mentioned before, excellent views can mean sloping hillsides.

3. Building a home means building a team. Who do you need on yours?

Building a home will require an architect, a contractor, a site manager, a land surveyor, a structural engineer and many other specialists. One that isn't often discussed is an "expeditor." This individual assists with the process of the city's design review, and permitting. With reviews sometimes taking upwards of 2 + years its worth it to hire the extra support to get the job done before you're retired.

Developers jump on attractive opportunities. Can you compete?

Anything is possible, but this can be tough. Developers are well aware of all the hoops to jump through to get a build started and their pockets are typically much deeper than the typical home buyer. Additionally, they usually have a built in team of professionals and their projects can bid more attractively. If you want to compete with developers, you should have a very concise picture that you can communicate, describing the what, when, where and how. Also, having an experienced Realtor on your side will make all the difference.

Have additional questions about home buying or sourcing vacant land in Los Angeles? Schedule a free chat with our LA agents Nicole Marrè and Rita Kealey. They will be able to guide you with their expert knowledge.

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