How to Avoid Additional Lot Preparation Charges When Building a Home in Cape Coral, Florida

Cape Coral is a very unique area with many scattered residential building lots.  Each lot is different and will require various amounts of site preparation in order to get the site ready for the construction of your new home. Site preparation costs vary greatly depending on lot conditions. Below are 3 things you should be considerate of when building a home in Cape Coral, Florida.




Existing elevation of the lot:

The existing elevation of the lot will determine how much fill dirt is needed.  Most all lots in Cape Coral will need fill dirt in order to bring the new construction home’s finished floor up to the required height per code. The amount of fill required can vary considerably depending on the lot location and its existing elevation. The existing elevation is determined when a survey is ordered with an “elevation certificate”. The elevation certificate will tell the builder the current elevation and guide them as to how much the lot will need to be elevated. Lot elevations are raised by bringing in fill dirt.  Most vacant lots in Cape Coral will require multiple loads of fill dirt.  It is important to understand that the amount of fill required can increase the overall cost of the project depending on the elevation requirements and the overall house pad area.


Clearing needed for the house pad and swale areas:

If there are trees present on the lot they will need to be removed if there are in the way of the house pad, swale areas or the water line if the house is getting a sea wall.  The house pad is the total footprint of the house which includes the living areas, garage spaces, lanais, driveways and pools if applicable.  The swale areas are the otter areas of the lot where the lot is graded down to that allow for proper drainage when it rains.  Swales usually run the length of the property and water flows from the roof of the house, down to the surrounding ground then down to the swales.  The swales are pitched towards a drainage area determined by the city.  The swales must be clear of any trees or bushes so that the water can flow properly.


The presence of water and sewer hookups & Impact fees associated:

Cape Coral has various water districts throughout the city that provide city water and sewer to each of the lots.  The time in which the water district came into existence will have an effect on the overall impact fees that are due to construct a home.  If there are not any water or sewer utilities in existence the impact fees will be less, but you will have to purchase a well and a septic system.  The difference between the impact fee savings and extra cost of the well and septic will add about 4-7K to the price of the lot improvements.  Keep in mind, if you buy a lot in a district that does not have water and sewer it eventually will and then you will have to pay an assessment fee to the city for the installation of those utilities.


to sum it all up:

You should always verify the allowances in your lot contract for fill, clearing, permits, impact fees and site prep.  A good builder will make sure to inspect your lot PRIOR to the execution of your contract to ensure that the allowances for your site specific prep costs are aligned with what is needed.  It is still possible to have overages above the adjusted allowances if there are unforeseen circumstances like rock or additional fill, but for the most part doing an inspection in the beginning will eliminate any surprises in the end.

Signing document for new home.