Home Sites Q&A with Industry Expert – Melissa Cole
Open field on a sunny day.


You may be looking for an immediate home construction, or the end goal may be a few years out. Regardless, as the hunt begins for the perfect place to build, you’ll begin to have some of the same questions as many of our other customers. Where can I build, what kind of home can be built, what are the land features I can consider…it’s a decision that makes the foundation of your future home and naturally an important step to be clear on.


We spoke with one of our country living experts at GreenStone, Financial Services Officer Melissa Cole, about the financing and other valuable information important to understand regarding home sites and financing options.


Q: What do I need to know about financing a home site?

A: GreenStone can finance home sites all the way from small, rural lots up to expansive acres. Our financing terms are customizable to your needs, including terms from 5-years up to a 30-year mortgage, with a 20% down payment for home sites. If you are just beginning your land “shopping,” GreenStone does provide loan prequalification options to assist you in establishing your budget.


Q: Where am I able to finance a home site?

A: You’ll find that different lenders provide different options. Our regulations allow us to use our expertise and knowledge to be experts at financing home sites in the country, including those on large acreage. We have several options, and therefore recommend you contact your local GreenStone office to discuss your desires with a financial services officer.


Q: How can I determine if a lot is buildable?

A: We recommend working with your builder to do a site visit. Aside from elevation observations and excavation needs, their expertise will also be able to guide you to additional steps to take to make this determination, such as a perc test to determine septic options, or water supply test if a well is needed.


Q: What kind of home can I build?

A: Local zoning and ordnances may impact this answer; talk with the township to understand your options. In addition, the property could impact the building options, such as a flat parcel may prohibit the ability to have a walk-out basement. Your builder will be able to provide you with the options when you find a lot that interests you. When it comes to financing, GreenStone is able to finance most styles of homes. Coordinating with your township, builder and lender will be important to your home decisions.


Q: Will the home site provide for my lifestyle goals?

A: When considering a future home, it is always best to start with your wish list for not only the land, but the community around the land. You will want to make sure where you are considering matches your lifestyle. Some topic you may want to consider include:

  • Is the length of commute to work important?
  • Is the school district one that is right for your family?
  • What activities are important to you, such as access to outdoor options like river trails, fishing spots, or hiking options?
  • How much acreage is needed for your family’s goals, such as back yard adventures or part time farming?
  • Are we looking for a short drive to city areas to enjoy night life?

It is good to think through your long-term goals for your future home location and share those priorities with your realtor.


Q: What should I consider when it comes to utilities?

A: With the help of your real estate professional and builder, you will need to determine your options for utilities at the property to live the lifestyle you want to lead. Things to consider are:

  • What will it take to get electrical power to the property? Those costs can vary widely based on how far away from the lines your home will sit.
  • What heat source do you want and what will be required to get it, such as natural gas, propane, electric, geothermal, or another system.
  • Regardless if you work from home or have gamers in the family, reliable internet is often a must for many families. Call local providers to identify which will serve your area and what you need to know for getting service to your planned home.
  • Where is the water table in the area and what depth of well will be needed if a public water system is not available?
  • What type of septic system will be needed if a public system is not at the location?


Q: Does the land have covenants associated with it? (restriction or rules for future owners)

A: Title work completed during the lending process will show if there are any prior liens. The township will also be able to help identify if there are access issues for the property. Your realtor should be able to provide additional information about any restrictions or land use rules.


Q: How is the land zoned?

A: The seller will be able to tell you how the land is zoned. In addition, we can pull up the tax ID to help you identify how that property is zoned.


Q: What do I need to know about flood zones?

A: When you apply for a loan at GreenStone, we will check flood zones to determine if the land is in a flood zone. If we find it is in a flood zone, we will be able to move forward without flood insurance at this time because it is just vacant land. When it’s time to build, you would want to speak with your builder to see if there is a better spot on the land to build on. Depending on the final decisions, we may require flood insurance as part of your financing agreement.


Q: Am I able to hunt on the land I am purchasing?

A: Many of our customers look for a home site with acreage to both live and hunt on. You will want to contact the township to confirm any laws for the area regarding hunting. Aside from that, you’ll need to identify if the property is a big enough to provide adequate distance from other houses and properties to ensure safety for all.


Q: What haven’t I considered?

A: Starting with a prioritized plan and creating your list of questions up front will not only help you focus your search, but will help you be prepared to act when the time comes. Once you find a lot, consider visiting the property at several different times and days of the week to help understand the full experience – traffic patterns, noise, and nature could reveal other things to be aware of. And don’t forget to consider the property around you – those lots could be used one way today that could change down the road. Consider your property plan based on what you can control on your own land.

When it’s time to start considering your home build, I suggest you check out our Home Construction FAQs for details you’ll want to know.



Note: The above is a combo of new FAQ ideas from Melissa Cole, as well as an existing FAQ type blog on our website from 2016. This new FAQ blog would replace the old one: Questions to Consider When Choosing a Home Site | GreenStone FCS


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