Lot & Land Development

Every home built needs a developed lot

Looking for a Lot? We can help! Every lot is different. Lot development includes all the work that is needed to take a piece of land and turn it into a homesite. The work needed varies with each lot and is dependent on many factors discussed below.

Having completed well over 1000 projects in Central Ohio, the team at American Heritage Homes can help guide you both in finding, selecting and purchasing land and in assessing, budgeting and developing your homesite.

"On-Your-Lot" construction

With "On-Your-Lot" construction, the homebuyer owns the land and should be thought of as the General Contractor for the whole project. As the General Contractor, the homebuyer selects a homebuilder like American Heritage Homes to build the house portion of the project on their homesite. Often much of the lot development work and the homebuilding work proceed concurrently and need to be coordinated. The homebuilder is often viewed as the primary subcontractor for the project and therefore provides much of the coordination.

Project draws

Lenders, who are used to working with builders, will often only channel borrowed project funds though the homebuilder in the form of project draws. The homebuilder then pays out portions of draws to homeowners to cover lot development costs. At American Heritage Homes we list these costs as part of the allowances on our purchase agreements. The budgets set for these lot development allowances at contract time can be adjusted later with bank approval as needed, but to get a good handle on what kinds of costs a particular lot development project will incur, some research and leg work is required.

Typical Lot Development Costs

Typical costs listed below are provided as a general reference. This is not a price list for American Heritage services. AHH does offer some of the listed services and our prices may differ. The figures are intended to represent a reasonable price for each item that would be typical in the marketplace. Of course, as market conditions change, prices may go up or down dramatically. County fees and requirements often change. AHH always recommends obtaining actual quotes for fees and services when planning your development budget and beforing closing your construction loan.

DescriptionEstimating Notes
Temporary Occupancy Permit
Building PermitVaries by county/municipality (Delco = $55 + $6 per 100 SF of house, bsmt & garage)
Zoning Permit BulkVaries by township - contact yours for actual figures
Zoning Permit per SFVaries by township - contact yours for actual figures
Plumbing/Health PermitVaries check with your health department
Architectural ReviewTypically required in subdivisions
County Bonds or other Misc. FeesCheck with your county on specific requirements
Property InsuranceInsurance on property over and above AHH provided builders risk policy
Plot PlanRequired for most lots - typical fee from surveyor
Stake Lot for DigUsually required in subdivisions - typical fee from surveyor
Lot ClearingVaries by lot and tree density - get a quote
Soil Evaluation/Test HolesTypically required for all onsite sewage treatment systems
Septic System - Traditional Leach FieldUnless previously approved, most lots will require a more advanced system
Septic System - Aerator Add-OnHelps waste breakdown more quickly reducing size of mound or leach system
Septic System Design/EngineeringAdvanced onsite sewage system require engineering designs specific to your lot
Septic System - Mound SystemPrice increases based on number of bedrooms served and soil quality
Septic System - Mound w/ Drip SystemPrice increases based on number of bedrooms served and soil quality
Well DrillingVaries based on depth of well and soil type at aquifer
Water Softening SystemVaries widely with system specs and water quality
Water Filtration SystemVaries widely with system specs and water quality
Curb CutRequired for most subdivision lots
Construction DriveIncludes 6" #2 aggregate with 4" #304 aggregate
Concrete CulvertTypical of 12" culvert 30' long - check with county engineer for sizing
Maintenance of DriveExtra gravel or snow removal - varies with length of drive and season
Silt Fencing/Environmental ProtectionRequired in some areas to be placed around perimeter of any disturbed soils
Electric trenchingDistance from entry at house to transformer location - check with electric company
Water Lines installDistance from entry at house to tap location
Gas Lines installDistance from entry at house to tap location
Water Tap FeeVaries per Locale
Supply & Install Gas Riser & Meter ArmSeparate parts not typically installed by gas utility
Gas Connection FeeConnection fee varies
Temp Heating CostsHeating your home during construction varies by season and fuel type
Electrical Connection Fee & Temp PowerCheck with utility company - varies widely
Main Service DisconnectFor dislocated service
Overhead Electrical Service (masthead, etc.)Check with electric company - most home will be underground
Sewer Tap FeeVaries per Locale
Sewer Tap Inspection FeeVaries per Locale
Sewer Trench & Line with GravelDistance from entry at house to tap location
Dirt TruckingOften required on smaller lots where excavated soils cannot be dispersed - varies widely
Landscaping Prep GradeBased on a 1 Acre lot - see landscaper for actual quote
Landscaping Seeding1 Acre = 43,560 SF
Landscaping Sod1 Acre = 43,560 SF
Downspout ConductorsUnderground conductors connect from each downspout and then run to curb (in subdivision or to daylight for an out lot)
Cut, Prep & Finish Driveways & Sidewalks
Post LightRequired in many subdivisions - Circuit, fixture, install
Mail BoxTypical Cedar Craft subdivision post installed
Reset Grade StakesRequired by some counties (Delaware)
Reshoot GradeRequired by some counties (Delaware)


Permit costs and requirements differ greatly in different areas. The list of permits required, aside from well and septic (below), usually include Zoning and Building. Some areas may also require permits or fees be paid for Driveways, Street Numbers/Addresses, DESC (Site Grading and Runoff), Occupancy, Architectural Review, Park Fees, and more. Often it is difficult to determine exactly what the costs will be for your permits at contract time because localities change fees and requirements often. Zoning and building permits are usually based on the SF of your home. Refer to the website of your locality for the most up-to-date fees and requirements.

Septic System/Sewer Line

Is a municipal or other shared sewer system available or has the property been approved by the local Health Department for a septic system? What are the fees for connecting to the  sewer system? We strongly recommend contacting the local Health Department or municipality for a site evaluation in the early stages to obtain the type of system required for your property. If you have not purchased the lot yet, this information is critical in making sure you are paying the right price for the lot. The figured entered here is simply a budget to use as a starting point. You must confirm the actual cost of the system for your property with a written quote from your installer. Your budget should include the price of the system, test holes, soil surveys, system design, inspections and permits. Depending on the conditions of your lot, county requirements and the number of bedrooms in your home - septic systems can range from $5,000 to over $20,000.

Construction Drive

The construction drive is the main artery for access to your project. There will be a number of very heavy trucks delivering everything from concrete to kitchen cabinets running over your drive. It is important that the drive and culvert are durable and is appropriate for access by large trucks. The drive needs to run to within 2 feet of the staked foundation at the garage door opening and should have adequate flares at the road to allow for turns and a culvert of at least 30 feet. Your construction manager will review your specific construction drive needs at the lot walk. This item should included funds for maintenance of the driveway (repairs, snow plowing, etc.) during construction which is a homeowner responsibility.

Well Drilling/Tap Fees/Water Lines

If you will have a private well, this allowance needs to cover costs for a well permit, installation of the well, well testing, pressure tank, and circuit from well to basement, installation of pressure tank and associated components. We will attach interior water line to pressure tank, and install circuit from panel box to pressure switch. Water softeners, filters and installation should be included here too. If you have access to city water, include any tap fees, waterline from tap to basement, water meter installation. As well, some water systems require a thermal expansion tank to prevent back pressure on water lines by the thermal expansion in the water by a water heater. Also, a backflow prevention device may be required. Check with your water company for more details.

Site Survey & House Staking

Many localities require a plot plan by a surveyor showing the location of the house and other project items. As well and especially in subdivisions or small lots, the house needs to be staked by a surveyor. In some locales, the surveyor must come back and certify the the foundation is in the right place and the proper elevation.

Electric & Gas Trenching, Cable Laying and Utilities

The utility requirements vary greatly based on your site, distance from the road, electric company, gas company, propane company, etc. Electric: we will provide a temporary pole and box for construction power as well as the permanent electric meter base. You are responsible for getting the permanent power cable to your home. Usually this is underground and the service is provided by the electric company for a fee. If underground power is not an option, overhead service requires some extra components that we need to install and charge for. Natural Gas: It is an owner responsibility to make application for natural gas hookup. It is an owner responsibility for tap fee, installation of gas line and tracer wire, flexible riser, and meter mount. The meter mount must be installed by a licensed installer. This budget number should also include the anticipated cost of utilities during construction.

Downspout Conductors

Downspout conductors are underground pipes which allow water from your downspouts to be directed away from your home. These are important because to maintain your basement waterproofing warranty the downspout water must be managed properly. If building in a subdivision with curbs, the conductors usually need to drain to the road through curb cores. Funds for the trenching, piping and curb cores should be budgeted.

Owners All Risk Insurance

Overall liability responsibility for your property reside with you, the owner of the property. We recommend that you carry full liability coverage, often referred to as All-Risk coverage for the property throughout construction. Often this is included as a part of your current homeowner's insurance, but please follow the advice of your preferred insurance professional. As the builder, we provide a Builder's Risk policy for the construction of the home and confirm that everyone working for us on the site is covered by liability and workers compensation insurance.


We will provide a dozer final grade with positive slope away from foundation using the dirt excavated from the basement and footing areas for fill. If extra fill dirt or topsoil is needed at the site for any reason or dirt needs hauled away from the site for any reason, the cost of the dirt, hauling the dirt, and spreading or loading the dirt needs to be included here.  This final grade will be as good as a bulldozer can reasonably get it. During rainy seasons the grade will not be as good as during dry seasons. This grade is not meant to be a final seed grade and should not be misconstrued as such. You or your landscaper need to provide the final seed grade prior to planting grass or shrubbery. You should expect to move some dirt closer to foundation especially in tight corners. Include money for any shrubs, trees or hardscape (pavers, etc.) as well.

Miscellaneous Site Conditions

You should also set aside part of your lot development for unforeseen challenges. These funds may or may not need to be used. Typical uses of these funds include concrete pump truck fees when the concrete trucks cannot get all the way around your excavation to pour footers, walls or floor. As well, extra fill gravel for porches and garages are common and any exterior finish that you want or that needs to extend below the typical finish grade height (8 inches below top of foundation wall). Usually these items are due to uneven or sloping grade in combination with house placement and can sometimes be determined at lot walk. Planning you garage on the "uphill' side of the lot will usually save you money. Having to reroute field tile or poor soil conditions are other common challenges.

Finish Driveway

If building in a sudbivision, driveways (concrete or asphalt), walkways and often sidewalks are usually a requirement. For others, you will want to include money for at least a walkway from your drive to your front porch or stoop.