Thinking About Building a Custom Home? Here’s How to Choose the Right Piece of Property

AbbottReedCustom Homes

Choosing the right property for a custom home.

Dreaming of building a custom home in San Luis Obispo? Before you start searching for property, you’ll want to consider a key checklist starting with the most important, location! There’s more to it than you might think.


Before anything else, make sure you can build! You don’t want to fall in love with a stunning piece of property, only to discover that you’re blocked from building by local, State, or Federal regulations. Before you buy, check with county offices to see if rules require an environmental impact study. You may have to prove your project will not negatively impact local animals, vegetation, or watershed. Soil and geologic studies may also be required in some areas of San Luis Obispo County.

One you know you can build, consider the following:

  • What part of town do you envision living in?
  • Is this area growing? Will it become significantly more populated?
  • How big is the lot? Will it fit your needs?
  • Examine the terrain – more hilly or rocky acreage can be difficult to build on
  • How will the style, layout and colors of your future home compliment the natural contours of the land and surrounding environment?
  • Are the views what you’re looking for?
  • Consider sunlight and exposure to natural light
  •  If you work, what will your daily commute be like?
  • Note your proximity to an airport, train tracks, or a busy highway/street

If you have children, you’ll also want to research nearby school districts. If you’re a retiree or thinking about retiring, consider proximity to community amenities such as recreational facilities, fitness centers, emergency medical services, and more.


What services will you need? Where you source utilities will differ wildly depending on location. If you’re buying a developed subdivision lot, you can generally expect streets with gutters, sewers, and direct access to water, gas, and electric lines. On the other hand, if you’re considering more rural country living, almost none of those utilities will be readily available. Will you access water from a well or from a company? What are your options for phone or Internet? Those will vary so do your research. If you’re considering a remote lot, be aware that even if the property is listed as having access to municipal utilities like water and sewer, if you are far away from the utility provider you may be charged a significant fee to bring the utility lines out to your property. These fees can be as high as $100/foot, so if your lot were 300 feet away from utility lines, you would need to factor in an additional cost of $30,000. Essentially, be sure you understand what’s possible before making your purchase.


Particular communities may have codes of restrictions that affect your ability to design and style your home the way you want. Properties may also be located in an area zoned for commercial or residential, so it’s possible you could wind up with an unwanted commercial building nearby. That’s why looking ahead matters. When you keep in mind what the area may look like in years to come, you won’t be surprised by unexpected changes in the future.

Thinking about building a beautiful custom home in San Luis Obispo soon? Visit our Custom Homes website or call (805) 316-5046.