Buying land in Maine, top mistakes to avoid building your ME home. What to look out for when building a house, your home from scratch.
This blog post also considers the top mistakes to avoid making when you build your own home in Maine. First the Maine land.
Like people the soils are different on house lots or larger property acreages.
And the first rule of real estate everyone knows about the three location, location, location mantra. That little ditty reminds under everything is the land. And where it is on the planet is everything when building a home.
Scrimp somewhere else but make the location everything. It is so true that the land location, the how it lays in the terrain and setting is everything to the future home owner. Their enjoyment is tied to the location times three.
What is happening on the adjacent lots, the property across the street or road from the Maine land where you want to build?
Will the house you have in mind fit the flavor of the other houses already constructed? Or are there any other houses in sight?
In Maine you can easily purchase a couple hundred acres of land and the issue of how’s the neighborhood goes away.
What is planned for your development on vacant Maine land for the best finished structure. That all goes into the selection of the best possible house site or acreage for your Maine home.
What is in your view, the orientation to the southern exposure sun?
Where are you toying with placing the improvements on this Maine land? Does the house, the garage, septic system, big garden, tennis court or swimming pool, horse stable, etc all go together like a puzzle where you don’t have to force the pieces?
Next building permits, HHE 200 soil tests for private septic systems leach field designs are needed on your Maine land. Unless served by muncipal water and sewer.
Every municipality is different on what is required and believe it or not there are itty bitty Maine towns that don’t require building permits. Not sloppy, just not needed because zip for development. You don’t worry about sprawl in a small rural Maine town.
Some of these small burgs or plantations that are more like settlements run everything through the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC).
The majority of folks who growl about LURC, now LUPC are ot the out of staters building on Maine land buyers. Ironically they are used to heavy duty zoning and layers of players. And building around our precious waterfront thought all those regulations and requirements would be missing heading north up into Maine.
See the local officials before you plow in to the construction and then are told hold it, you are missing some vital paperwork from town hall.
The state plumbing code covers the state though and you want the septic system to work properly and to be at least 100 feet away from the private drilled well. If the land in Maine where you are building your home is serviced by a town or city public water and sewer, there is still the need to call the utility people. To consider ledge, any limitations to hooking up to the services. Long runs of power, water, sewer are going to cost more money.
Building on waterfront land in Maine adds a whole other layer to the considerations you must give to a vacant lot.
Or when you plan to buy existing and tear it down to gain the original location closer to the waterfront than current building codes in the shore land zoning article outlined in the law allow.
You don’t want to find out after you buy a a vacant Maine waterfront lot that it is not build-able. That it won’t conform to existing Maine shore land zoning regulations. The local municipality can have beefed up above and beyond shore land zoning standards that are stricter than the state of Maine’s version too.
If you plan to work the land and it is not just purchase for elbow room and to protect your housing investment, more in depth study of the Maine land soil profile, the drainage, suitability for the farming of property acreage is needed.
The quality of the Maine land is more important than the house you plan to build because you can change or modify the building.
You can not make a poorly drained parcel of land in a swamp suddenly high and dry pristine.
Ever heard the Maine groan? “The farmer said the ground is so hard pan on some hilly farm fields we had to plant the corn with a shotgun”.
Soil erosion hurts the waterfront and a unprofessional previous timber harvest clear cut can impact the quality of your land that is underneath all in the enjoyment of your dream Maine home.
The one you have waited for all your life. That is the sum of everything you wished for from other home experiences. good or bad. Combined your hopes with the list of what you don’t want and had to endure in someone else’s vision of their super home. Don’t build your dream Maine home on a nightmare lot. More on the five reasons why people buy Maine land.
Okay, flip the coin time. Let’s move on to consider the other top mistakes to avoid building your Maine home. The other half of what was promised in this double feature home construction blog post.
You have the best possible Maine land to build on and this blog assumes you had your house plan in mind as you started your land search for a new home site.
Because if there is a slope in the Maine land that would make an ideal walk out basement possible where you plan to have living space, bingo. So far so good in your check list combining the lay of the Maine land you are about to buy with the house design you are already selected. The two go together like song lyrics and the measure musical notes and rests.
Like coordinating an outfit that matches, your Maine land goes hand in hand with what you put on it.
The stakes are too high to make a foolish hurried purchase of Maine land and charging ahead with no particular house plans in hand. Before you order the set of blueprints so you can begin the get an bjuilding estimate phase on the Maine land. Consider your lifestyle choice, your budget, what the Maine land better or should not have for features.
What’s are all the costs, how long is this building a house operation going to take on the Maine land?
What if we hit ledge assuming you did not dig the test holes to determine you won’t in this perfect spot you have staked off and ribbon-ed on the Maine land.
When you build, other than financial constraints from rising material costs or added labor because of wrong time of the year. There are plenty of devil in the detail issues to iron out that all impact each other to cause setbacks and cost overruns.
When say a wet fall too close to the beginning of winter makes earth construction on the land for the foundation one big muddy mess.
Not to talk about pouring cement footing and cellar walls when the it’s snowing and below freezing which interferes with the concrete curing and can diminish the long term strength.
Newly poured concrete if left to freeze will have future problems with cracking, pop outs and scaling resulting in a weaker concrete product that supports everything built on your foundation.
Adding calcium to help cure the foundation concrete also weakens the material.
Get a contractor and don’t try to build the home yourself with the thought of how much money you saved.
Unless your Dad is a carpenter for the last three decades, your brothers all in the building trades or associated plumbing, electrical, siding, roofing or dry wall, you don’t know what you are doing. Won’t have any idea of what happens first and to recognize mistakes in the making. This Maine home building is not a dress rehearsal.
Avoid the hot water and worry and ripping out to redo that is expensive in time and money. The subcontractors need monitoring by someone that recognizes what quality looks like. And holds them to that standard in your Maine home sweet home.
Get a set of house plans because how will the contractor and all the subs know exactly what they are bidding on and building?
The blueprint specs show where the outlets go, what loads are expected from them. The electrician can count up the outlets, figure the length of copper wiring, the amperage size of the entrance panel box and where it is.
Just like the plumber who knows where he would put the hot water furnace and radiant heating. But it’s your Maine home and you want a future recreation room in that portion of unfinished cellar when you can afford it. Do the house plans provide for that dream?
Not so fast. What if the house heating furnace is parked in the center of the basement? Not tucked in along the side to make the best use of future living space. Then this is one of many disappointments in your housing dream on your land in Maine. Is the long basement expanse in one room properly supported, the floor and rafters trussed correctly? You will find out in no time if they are not. Someone just holler “TIMMMmmmbbbber” ? Did you hear that crack that sounded like a gun shot?
When you build on land in Maine.
You get what you want or should. Unlike buying an existing home in Maine where who knows what the previous owners and original builder were thinking when they put that doorway here and window there.
Kitchens planned near bathrooms are designs that save on the cost of the plumbing element. The contractor knows where the lowest price is for materials, who does the best work on this area, that specialty. Tap into his knowledge. He knows his way around the toolbox. It will be cheaper in the long run. This is your first new home but not his or her first swing of the construction hammer.
When the architect says I think you need two feet more in the kitchen and two less in the dining room, listen to him.
I know a local architect Bob Kervin who advised a friend of mine to do that building on Maine land. He reminded her “You spend more time in that kitchen than the four holidays a year in the formal dining room”.
Make the everyday dining area in the kitchen larger because it gets used three times a day.
That kitchen of today is where more time is spent in the rocking chair next to the wood cook or heater stove on the brick hearth. Getting ready to eat with slow cooked meals or cleaning up the dishes after one memorable meal makes your kitchen more than a quick pit stop for vittles.
Your architect has been through this building on Maine land process numerous times.
He or she knows what others in the same local building boat are doing and why which he shares freely. He or she want to help guide you around safety codes. To point out that bricked hearth needs to be out in a room more to provide the necessary clearance for fire codes. That you can’t get house property insurance which is needed to obtain bank moirtgage financing with these code violations needing correction.
Plus you don’t want your new home built on Maine land to go up in a smoke with your family too to be included in next week’s local obituary news.
You also don’t want to be ripping out what you don’t like but had not discussed before it was installed.
Put down the nail gun, the crow bar used in demolition and let’s have a cinnamon bun, a hot coffee and slow but constructive conversation with the builder and the construction partners. Building a green home, going off grid, a set of plans for whatever home you are building on your Maine land needs drawings.
Other building on the Maine land considerations.
Handicap approved doorways, bathrooms where a wheelchair can do donuts. ADA standard space for the future walking ramp outside your parents or you yourself are going to need for mobility and safety. The house plans have so much for today and down the road and are engineered to last and provide years of enjoyment from your hard earned housing investment.
When you build a home in Maine it is hard to get the details going in for anyone working on it with a house plan sketched on a napkin.
Or the other side of place mat from down at your favorite diner, on the back of an Uncle Henry’s buy sell swap trade guide. If that’s the hen scratching you pass to your builder.
Detail, it is missing. And the Maine house design is fly by the seat of your pants.
That’s okay with the boys building your hunting camp and happy hour starting a little early.
But for a home in Maine on the perfect land house site, that you may not die in and plan to sell.
Well, now, it better be something the market will like to attract a new real estate buyer. Not the features you want but the ones the market rewards you for is always the best approach to building on your Maine land.
Ignore the local real estate market and you create a one of a kind white elephant home on your Maine land.
A dog that stands out as Heinz 57 variety. Actually there are lots of houses that Jack built. Some are pretty ingenious. Others just recycled old army barracks hauled in from my home town airfield. Used during World War Two to house German prisoners of war who were a big help to local potato farmers while GI Joe was over there. A little blue but would be home for next Christmas.
I always tell first time home buyers it is exciting to climb out of the rent rut and start owning.
But don’t be so picky about this being the one and only home I will ever own. You are probably not going to die here. Chances are the white or black hearse is not taking you for your last ride from this home address.
What other mistakes to avoid building your home in Maine on your own hand picked land?
Colors in a room that make a home buyer wince can be changed for a 25 dollar gallon can of paint. Poor drainage that causes one or more sub-pumps to work over time down in the damp cellar is a bigger issue if not addressed during building. When outside that foundation wall that is poured concrete is done curing and the forms removed, what about drainage around the footing?
What about the black tar to seal the pores and outside of the house foundation wall and adding two inches of blue board insulation to bank it forever from the outside?
The design to save energy and those pretty insulated glass windows better be installed properly.
You are working your day job and see they are all trimmed in tonight after work. But were they put in the right way? Hey, do you feel that breeze and it’s not even winter yet. Your house contractor keeps track of it all and makes his worker or the subs do it over. They work for him and will never be building you another Maine home if you try to hire them off the street and they know it.
The general contractor knows what he is doing. You and I probably lack the experience to pull it off flawlessly.
I know I have learned so so much in over 41 years of listing and selling Maine real estate listings. But do I know it all? Heck no because it is ever changing and everyday is one to reinvent what we do. To stay current and the most professional we can be for our customers and clients.
More odds and ends of what to avoid for mistakes building your own home on land in Maine?
The future addition for a home office, where does it go if you or the next buyer wants to add one? The same question about the adding on for more bedrooms, the mother in law apartment, how would you do it if you did or to promote for features built in for the next home owner.
Finally when the last pick up truck leaves and no more lifts of sheet rock or shingles or metal roofing are coming up the long driveway.
You can finally work on the lawn. Planting trees and shrubs, establishing your landscaping. Put up a mail box. Balanced and pleasing to the eye and the pocket book as you stand out front, at the sides, the back and taking it all in.
Like it, love it? You built it or were the captain guiding the process of 2 by 4-6-8 or more in the stick home from the ground up. But chances are you have not built a bunch of houses. But this one is you, so you to anyone who knows you.
Building on your Maine land. Ask around, you hear the same names in a small Maine town.
It’s hard to keep a secret of the good, bad, inbetween. Find a contractor you can trust. The same with the plumber, electrician, all the other tradesmen especially if new to the area and don’t know a soul. Make sure your general contractor is a good pick.
Also, do as much of the grunt work yourself. Call in family members with skills to pitch in to defray some of the building costs. Reuse and re-purpose when you can and be frugal in some areas, splurge in others… it’s your house creation.
Here to find you the Maine land to build on to suit your housing needs.
To help share what we have spotted and and learned. To point out the red flags. That need to be respected and to avoid all the pitfalls buying land in Maine, all those mistakes buidling a house in Vacationland.
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MOOERS REALTY 69 NORTH ST HOULTON ME 04730 USA