Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of prime empty residential lots left in big dense metro areas like #Denver these days. Because of the lack of inventory, many people who want to build new custom homes look for out-of-date small homes in prime locations to scrape and replace with their new dream home. While this has the potential to be a great idea, there are a number of ways that things can easily go south in this situation. This article will give you some strategies and warnings to consider when going down this path.
Municipality,HOAs and historic/landmark districts:
For the better or worse, most well established communities have HOAs that govern what can, can't and how you can upgrade or build in an area. It is important to know what the restrictions are before you just pull the trigger. Additionally, every municipality has different restrictions and rules as well. Make sure to do the research or call professionals like Blue Horse Construction to check the feasibility of scraping and building on a specific piece of land. It's a similar story with landmark/historic districts. If you accidentally buy a lot in one of these districts it could be significantly more complex and expensive or even flat out impossible to scrape & build on that lot. Get in touch with a local design & build company that is familiar with the rules of the area you are researching.
When buying an older home to scrape, you need to know the age, types and placements of the utilities on the lot before you buy it.This could definitely destroy the plans of a homebuyer with a tight budget to scrape & build. Replacing utilities can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more!
Hazardous materials (asbestos and lead):
Scraping an older home can already be expensive, but scraping a home that contains hazardous materials such as asbestos & lead is a whole different animal. It could cost double or even triple what a normal scrape would cost. If the home you are looking at was built after 1978, then you do not need to be worried about lead, however, it may still contain asbestos. It may be smart to make the closing of the property contingent on an asbestos test and/or get a quote from an abatement contractor as to what it would cost to deal with a specific home. Additionally, you could consult with a local design & build contractor to facilitate these services.
Budget & your team
Scraping a lot can come with a number of unforeseen costs. Some that you may not even know until you are already underway on the project. Knowing what you are financially capable of and working with a competent design & build team could be the difference between getting exactly what you want within your budget or getting something completely different while having a miserable experience.
Hopefully this has given you some insight on some of the common pitfalls associated with the process of the scrape, design & build of your new custom home!