I’m looking to buy vacant land with a VA loan and build. What does that look like?

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I’m looking to buy vacant land with a VA loan and build. What does that look like?

An acre or two is likely to run you roughly $75k-150k an acre anywhere close to Tampa, Sarasota and along the I75 corridor. Those prices do not start to decline until you get about 20-40 miles east of I75.

Sure $0 VA land and construction loans technically exist but they are exceedingly rare today. So if that’s the route you want to go you need to start on that like tomorrow. It’s like VA Loans being assumable. It’s technically possible but in reality only happens rarely.

More than likely you will need cash or seller financing to acquire the lot. Vacant land loans are extraordinarily difficult to find and those that do them carry hefty cash requirements (20%-30% down and start construction in 24 months). The land will need wetlands delineation if it hasn’t already been done ($10k – $40k project and possibly 6 or more months) if not already done.

Also many lots even though they are ~5 acres total will only have a small fraction that’s actually buildable due to wetlands (I’ve seen as little as .3-.5 acres)…. no construction / improvements are allowed in wetlands. Most of the clear and dry land already has houses on it, so much of what’s left is either expensive or problematic in some way.

Once that’s done then it’s find a builder, pay builder or finance a construction loan, draw up drainage and site plan, file for permits, probably be shocked that your initial estimate is now 30% more for the same thing, and then finally start construction and hopefully have the house completed in 6-12 months if everything goes smoothly.

It’s a very long and uncertain path. I can tell you that buying an existing home or new construction is so very, very, very much easier with VA. It’s even easier to buy land with an existing shack or mobile home and build something next it. True vacant land has a large number of pitfalls in the process unless you have someone very experienced.

So far as location goes though North GA is so much different that it’s night and day. I’d be surprised if prices were much different though, prices in the mountains and foothills have skyrocketed the last 5 years or so.

Kyle Sasser

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