UMH Blog

Finding Land For a Custom Home

The process of finding land for a custom home may seem overwhelming, but there are several factors to consider that can simplify the process. For example, if you’ve always wanted to design your dream home just the way you like it, you have the option of buying land and then purchasing a manufactured or modular home that is customized to your vision. This process can be considerably easier and more affordable than customized stick-built construction. But in either case, you of course must first find the land upon which you want to build your life! The following highlights the steps to find and buy land for your future custom home.

Identifying Your Land Requirements

Consider regional requirements early on in the process. For example, do you want a private lot that is in the city, the suburbs, or a more rural area? This decision alone will determine which things you should be aware of in the later stages.

When thinking about requirements, keep in mind that the price tag of your land isn’t necessarily indicative of total cost. You may be drawn to lower-cost lots in more rural areas, but plan on doing your due diligence to understand how much the land still needs to be developed. Requirements like soil percolation for septic, drilling wells, or the viability of bringing in electricity, cable and phone lines are all things that can considerably add to the cost of building a home rural land.

Alternatively, city and suburban lots might have stricter and more expensive permitting requirements, and some counties may even have restrictions on manufactured home builds. Keep all of these things in mind as you decide where you envision your dream home living, and the steps you must take to make that a reality!

Finding the Perfect Land to Call Home

Begin your search online, or in local listings. Some specialty sites to consider include,, and Additionally, as with purchasing an existing home, hiring a real estate agent can be a tremendous help. When choosing your agent, be sure that they have experience in negotiating private land deals for manufactured or modular home builds in the area, so they can help you watch out for any red flags related to permitting or HOA’s early on. 

Identifying the Correct Lending Path

Financing will require a lender appraisal which will help determine an appropriate price for your offer. Once the offer is determined and you are ready to secure financing, UMH is ready to assist in helping you with various loan types including conventional, USDA and FHA. We will take into consideration different variables like cash-on-hand for a down payment, as well as credit score, to recommend the best financing options for you.

You can purchase your land first outright or through separate financing, or secure a construction loan that will finance your land and your home construction together. If you use a construction loan, the closing of the home and land purchase will happen at the same time. Both options are good routes to take, so what you choose should be based upon your financial situation, timeline for move-in and how much the lot needs to be prepared for development. 

Permit Preparation

After you have purchased your plot, the next step is to start the permitting process to build. Acquiring permits is essential to land development and building your manufactured home. Every city and jurisdiction have different permit requirements, so it is imperative to understand what you need and how to secure them.

One of the first steps in acquiring permits is meeting with a building inspector. Check with your county to determine what standard documents you’ll need; these may include the permit application, an agent authorization form, and others. Following the initial meetings, you will need to submit building plans, proof of land ownership/title, soil reports, survey plans and drainage plans. If you have done your due diligence when choosing your land, you will have had the proper inspections completed and these documents easily accessible upon or shortly after closing.

Permit fees vary considerably depending on the cost and location of the home. Multiple permits will be needed including building, plumbing and electrical work, so your total budget should account for all required permit types. 

When considering your permit requirements, it will help the process tremendously to consult with an expert who not only has experience working with the permitting boards in your county, but also has experience doing so for manufactured homes. The experts at our UMH Sales Center locations are well-versed in this process, so you’ll have the peace of mind knowing nothing will slip through the cracks.

Let UMH Sales Center Help You Build Your Custom Home!

Once you’ve chosen your land, locked down your financing agreement (if applicable) and obtained the proper permits, your land is ready to build. If you choose to purchase your manufactured or modular home from a UMH Sales Center, we can help you find land, and continue to be your resource for site-preparation and home placement. Let our experts be your guide, every step of the way. Meet with a team member at one of our Sales Centers today.

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