Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The last four weeks

Since we sold our place at the end of April (and made up our mind we were going to give this a shot) we've been looking for a site on which to build. Our only real requirements were: not too much more than a two hour drive and a natural setting with privacy. We brainstormed about the relative benefits and disadvantages of the many mountains, lakes, beaches and forests close to DC, but in the end - after staying at Jennifer Watson's spectacular Luminhaus - we came to believe that people interested in modern prefab are going to come for the house. So that's our focus. I've been to Harpers Ferry, the Shenandoah Valley, Berkeley Springs, Cumberland, Falling Waters, you name it. We've pretty much settled on being in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia for a couple of reasons: beautiful, unspoiled and sparsely populated mountains, relatively close to DC, a new highway (Corridor H) being built that will soon make it even easier to get there, and no building codes! Just pay your permit fee and build away.

We've looked at sites with spectacular views and some set in the midst of dense woods, land with water access and streams on the property, land close to "attractions," etc. We've decided that unrestricted land is the way to go (no restrictive covenants, no HOAs, no one to worry about offending or giving us a hard time) and have put a premium on size (as a buffer for privacy and to accommodate the possibility of building another rental/vacation home on the property down the road). We've found some good prospects in Hardy County, WV, and we'll update as we firm up a site.


Anonymous said...

No building codes at all? No electrical codes? No plumbing codes? How can this be?

Chris said...

I'm not sure what the reason is here. I assume it's because there's been so little development in Hardy County over the years. But as that is changing, there is talk that a building code is in the words. But all we had to do was pay for our builders permit; no inspections, build away.

Most of the builders (the contractor we've been working with included) follow BOCA, and Simplex's engineered plans I think must satisfy code for all 50 states.

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Anthony said...

What was the best way to find land for sale? Did you have a realtor or just search online? Did you just find places within your budget and general vicinity and then visit each site and imagine where the home might go?