Home Buying in Scottsdale>Question Details

Klieber, Home Buyer in Corona, CA

How to find a (good) broker that specializes in land purchases?

Asked by Klieber, Corona, CA Sat Mar 22, 2014

We are being relocated to the Phoenix area for work and, rather than buy an existing home, would like to explore building our own. How can I find a qualified broker who can help us find a suitable lot? I'm concerned with access to utilities, zoning issues and all the other details that are only relevant to unimproved land. I am trying to find someone that has a good understanding of all these issues, especially for the Scottsdale and surrounding areas.


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As you can see many answers here but all get down to interviewing agent to see which is a good fit. I've been in real estate full time since 1997 and have sold homes and land. There are specific inspections you need to do for land to make sure it fits your needs and you can do what you want when you build. Have worked with several of the major custom home builders and in many different of areas of the Valley. Would love to discuss with you. Please contact me (Alice Seger-Proski) direct at 866-620-2168. Look forward to speaking with you. Thanks, Alice
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 23, 2014
Your note leaves many unanswered questions -- Would love to discuss with you further what you are looking for. Please also take a look at this amazing LOT 2.67 acre's - 8624 E CAMINO VIVAZ -- 59 Scottsdale, AZ 85255 = Located Pima & Pinnacle Peak area with Mountain views. It is located in a gated community access on the lot to water, gas, utilities, cable, phone -- Also have several builders that can meet with you at the lot to discuss what you would be interested in building. Please call me to discuss further 623-326-7594 Carole Tyne

Hurry before this lot is gone --- Never on the market before 1978 ---
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2014
You can find lots with already approved plans as part of the purchase price. People just moved on with their life and did not build their house. See e.g. MLS 5082758. Don't underestimate commuting time, you don't want to be in Rio Verde and work in downtown Phoenix.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2014
thanks -- that's a good idea. That specific lot is out of our price range, but it's still a great suggestion overall.
Flag Sat Mar 22, 2014
Best agent anywhere for land is Tom Scappaticci at Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty!!
He has been walking it and selling it since 1976 and know every parcel.
Tom@TomScappatici.com or 602-430-4081.
You cannot go wrong with him and his expertise and experience!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2014

I am a broker and have been selling land and lots for years. There are lots of good qualified agents that can help you, but there are also lots that don't know the first thing about land and what to be aware of. A good broker or agent that is familiar with building and development should be part of your team. There definitely are due diligence items that you want to look for when buying a parcel to build on. Like zoning, setback, CC & R's if any, washes, locations of utilities and cost of hooking up. Whether it's got sewer or a septic system will need to be installed. There are areas of Scottsdale that are environmentally sensitive lands that need to dedicate NAOS or Natural Area Open Space prior to identifying your building site and some lots will have that already determined for you, some you'll have to make that determination after you complete a topography study. This pertains mostly to north Scottsdale and surrounding areas.

A rule of thumb for the cost of a lot is that it should be no more than 30% of the total cost of the total home. Unless you are buying acreage, 2+ acres, then it's really hard to stay within that ratio. There are still some great values on land today. The land market was hit pretty hard for several years and is recovering. When the cost of an existing home was less than the cost of buying a lot and building, there were very little land sales taking place, but now that values of resale homes have increased, the land market is coming back. Three primary reasons to buy land and build. 1.) When someone has an idea of what they want in a home or have special uses and can't find it in the existing home inventory or 2.) when they can buy land and build for less than the existing inventory or 3.) It's your business to build and profit from the process. Then it's time to find a great parcel build.

Financing is different. You'll typically need 25-30% for a down payment for the land, then you will want to make sure you can convert or replace the loan with a construction loan and then again turn that loan into permanent financing. You'll want to align yourself with a good architect and builder as well. They are the ones that will make the process easy or a nightmare. Good quality people are a must. It's a lot of effort and it's not for everyone. It takes time, patience, (the process will probably take about a year from closing to certificate of occupancy) and a good knowledge of the market and process. You not only want to build for you, but also consider the resale ability when it's time to move on. Before you commit to buy and build, I'd recommend to do a thorough examination of the existing inventory before committing to buy and build. If nothing meets your needs, then buy all means. Also, in an appreciating market, land can be a great investment too. Many have made fantastic returns in land, but it is also speculative and there are no guarantees to make a profit. As we have seen in land cycles, it doesn't always go up in value. I think now is a good time to buy.

I do have several parcels for sale. 2.5 acres for $125,000 in Rio Verde, a 3 for $335,000 with all infrastructure and utilities on a paved road in Scottsdale near the Whisper Rock subdivision, 5 acres in Rio Verde for $225,000 to name a few. I also am representing a bank on a 196 lot approved subdivision with all approvals in place asking $550,000. This was appraised several years ago for over $7 million (not in Scottsdale) That would make a good speculative play for a qualified investor with the intent to hold for several years.

It all depends on your needs and finding what fits those needs best. Hope this helps a little.

Please feel free to call me.

Bill Clarkson, CCIM
Realty Executives
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2014
As the former planning and development director for the City of Scottsdale, I think I could help you with a potential purchase in Scottsdale. I also have a nice 3.3 acre lot lisitng in Paradise Valley that may or may not be of interest for you depending on your price point and development appetite.
Love to discuss.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2014
I would love to help you - please see the land listing that I have for sale - in a gated, exclusive community, with views of the valley, yet within walking distance to excellent schools. I Have sold land in the past, and have land listings now. Besides, I work with quite a few architects that may be able to help you further. I am a member of the Urban Land Institute, too. My phone is 480-966-9353.

Steffy Hristova, MBA, SFR, RealtorĀ®
Tel: (480) 966-9353
3131 E. Camelback Rd. #125
Phoenix AZ 85016
Web Reference: http://www.talktosteffy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2014
Please contact me. I have sold many 1 - 5 acre lots in N. Phoenix, Cave Creek and N. Scottsdale. I also know the best areas to buy and build and the areas to avoid.

I have worked with several custom home builders and have a clear understanding of zoning issues, setbacks, easements, flood zones (yes Arizona has numerous flood plains), grading and drainage, well and septic, etc. There are very few issues that I have not encountered and can help you avoid buying a lot that will require extensive costs to build or even one that is unbuildable.

In addition I know the both the Arizona vacant land contract and the New Home with Lot contract.

You won't be sorry you contacted me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 22, 2014
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