How much land do you need to build a house?

Record-low inventory of homes for sale is forcing some homebuyers to build their own homes, but they still need think about where they will build. Buzzfeed recently tested ordinary people on their real estate knowledge with some surprising results. Do you know how to calculate how much land you will need for that dream house and how much a parcel of land will cost? How many square feet are in an acre? Does your real estate knowledge stack up to the Buzzfeed challenge? Here are some real estate tips to better your score on BuzzFeed’s Regular People Take a Real Estate Exam.

DO THE MATH
The National Association of Home Builders reports an average cost of $85,139 for a buildable lot. Now’s the time to bust out that handy calculator. The percentage or ratio of the size of the building to the land on which it resides is called the “land-to-building ratio.” To arrive at the land to building ratio, divide the square footage of the land parcel by the square footage of the building. Here’s an example: 188,000 land square feet/43,500 building square feet = 4.32, defined as a 4.32:1 land to building ratio.

BUYING LAND
There aren’t many rules as to how much land one should buy to build – it really depends on the size of your home. The median lot size of a new single-family detached home sold in 2016 was 8,562 square feet, or just under one-fifth of an acre. Don’t forget to talk with your builder about how much space you want for a backyard, front yard, garage and fencing when setting the property lines before the building starts and make sure to leave enough space for the home’s utility grid.

TINY HOUSE LOT 
Even though the excitement for tiny homes continues to grow, most city zoning laws and building codes haven’t caught up to addressing the trend. The American Tiny House Association rounded up state regulations for most states or maybe you could petition your own city for tiny house-friendly zoning changes. The style of the tiny house – with wheels or on a foundation – will determine where the home can be located. If it’s on wheels – no problem. A tiny home on a foundation is a bit trickier. Most zoning and building regulations won’t allow you to buy land and build your tiny house on it. You’ll have to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), which means a secondary residential dwelling unit located on a single-family lot, often referred to as a carriage house, granny flat, mother-in-law suite or cottage.

Do you think you have what it takes to pass a real estate quiz? Test your knowledge with BuzzFeed’s Regular People Take a Real Estate Exam.

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