Land and New Homes


HouseIf you’re contemplating buying a lot to build a new home on, my advice is: get an experienced realtor or builder to help you avoid the pitfalls.

With professionals advising you, decide on the type and size of home you want to build. This is important because you must meet local zoning requirements. When you find a lot you’re interested in, note the lot and block number and then ask the zoning officer if it’s a buildable residential lot.

Next, you want to know about the setback requirements and the land's square foot capacity. The reason is you can only cover a certain square footage of the land with the house. For example, if you have a 12,000-square-foot lot, local code may allow you to cover only 3,000 square feet with the structure. Every municipality is different on what they will allow.

Also in New Jersey, find out if there are wetlands on the property. If so, ask to see a recent letter of interpretation (LOI) on the property from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). If there is none within the last five years, you will probably have to get one to be able to build. It usually takes a lot of work, time and money to get an LOI. My advice is stay away from lots with wetlands unless you're willing to do the work on it — or you're able to hire an environmental company to do it for you.

Another type of land you have to use caution with is Pinelands. The reason for this is you must purchase Pineland credits from people who own them. These are expensive (usually about $30,000 per 1/4 credit).

Be sure to look into water, sewer and utilities availability as well as easements on the property. Buy land contingent on getting zoning approvals from the municipality, and from the DEP or Pineland Commission if necessary.

Once you have purchased your land, you'll most likely shop for a builder. Having a house built should be an exciting experience, providing you make the right decision on who you hire to build it for you.

Call the state New Home Warranty Program to make sure the builder is registered and their record is clear. Then check out prior customers' satisfaction with their new homes and with the building experience. Ask the builder if you can look at one of their homes.

Try to find out as much as possible about the materials and products the builder uses and the cost for upgrades. When we build a home, we give you all upgrades at our cost. Most builders add 10 to 20 percent.

With Castagna Builders, our standard features are considered upgrades by most builders. Our commitment is to you and your satisfaction through every aspect of the building process to the final product. Whatever decision you make, I hope this information is helpful to you. Just ask to see to some of the model homes we have built. If you don’t see exactly what you want, click on the link of our architectural firm, Bishop & Smith, and browse through many more plans — we will build any of them for you.

Whatever you decide to do, Castagna Builders will help you through every decision. We bring more than 30 years of experience to your project and we handle everything from the permits to the completion of your home.

— Vic Castagna    

Call Castagna Buildersat (856) 582-1300 to get started on your building project.