Residential Land for Sale in Northern Virginia: Road Access & Other Considerations

Road Access, Topography, and Soils when Evaluating Land for Sale in Northern Virginia

Road access, topography, and soils are just a few things to consider as you look at residential land for sale in Northern Virginia.

Rough Transcript: This is the third video in my site selection series designed to help buyers who are looking at residential land for sale in Northern Virginia.

If you haven’t watched the first two videos, you can do that here.

Also, if you’ve been following along and would like to get all of this information in a check list format, then you can download my free Land Buyer’s Due Diligence Guide.

In today’s video I’ll be discussing property access and some other physical considerations that can affect site selection.

As obvious as it sounds, you do need to think about how you are going to access the property. In a best case scenario the property has frontage on a paved road and possibly a driveway already installed, but that’s not always the case.

In some cases, an approved access road exists on paper, but it has not been built. If that is the case, then that is a site development cost that you need to take into consideration.

If the entrance to your property is going to be connected to a state maintained road, then you will need to obtain authorization from the Virginia Department of Transportation before beginning work on your driveway. This adds an additional layer of approvals and possibly additional cost to your project.

Road access residential land for sale in Northern Virginia
Road access is an important consideration in site selection.

Another thing to think about is the tree and vegetation density on the property and in the approximate location of the building site.

Will you need to clear a lot of trees from the property before you can build?

Apart from the labor costs associated with tree removal, there might be local ordinances that limit the number or size of trees that can be removed, or otherwise regulate tree removal on your property. If this is the case, you might have to hire a professional arborist for assistance.

In addition to road access and tree removal, there are some less obvious considerations to take into account.

Solar balance is important to a lot of people – some people like north facing houses because they receive less direct sunlight throughout the day and therefore remain cooler; others like south facing houses because they like having more natural light.

If this is important to you, then you should think about the orientation of the lot and the possible orientation of the house on the lot.

Something else to consider is whether the topography of the site is suitable for the type of home you want to build.

If you want a walkout basement at the back of the house, then you should look for a lot that slopes gently away from the street. If you just want to build a basic ranch style home without a walkout basement, then a flatter lot would be better.

Finally, pay attention to the soil structure and the presence of any large rocks that could complicate your foundation plans.

You should get a site-specific professional opinion on this, but generally speaking you want to find a property that has a firm soil base. Loam is often considered a good soil type for foundations, but if you need help identifying the soil you can consult the USDA’s Web Soil Survey.

Soil map residential land for sale in Northern Virginia
Example of a soil map.

If you’ve got any questions about anything I’ve covered in today’s video, or if you need any assistance as you search for residential land for sale in Northern Virginia, then head over to the contact page or give me a call at 202-750-4050. 

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