Here I'll build a checklist of things you need to do when building a house.
There are some things which are generic, independent on the land or the end product:
- Make sure you want to build. I cannot stress this enough. While there are a lot of advantages (from tax to having your own, tailored home), there are some disadvantages. Main one that comes to mind is the time it takes to build a house (building takes 1-5 years, buying takes about 4 months). Then, location may be an issue.
- Define your important criteria. Not everybody has the same criteria. Some may value proximity to shops while others may value isolation. Some may value belonging to a certain community, others may value the surrounding landscape. Find what's important to you and try to keep them stable over time.
- Research potential areas. Usually, more areas are suitable. Find the most convenient and prioritise them. Areas may be at the level of commune/village/town or even more granular to level of street.
- Research the market. It may be a bad time to build.
- Decide on a type of building. Research as much as you can. Find a type of building (or two) you like independent on the land you're going to get. It may be that you like Victorian style, or that you like the harmony with the neighbouring houses. Regardless, keep this a constant and your life will be easy. Change the type of structure you want to build after you've already started the process and you'll find yourself in trouble.
- Make a budget. You will exceed it, probably by as much as 20% or 40%. Nevertheless, make a budget and realise that if you decide to spend more in one area (e.g. more expensive land), then you won't be able to spend as much in others (like the house itself). Try to get as any things in the bugdet as possible (the terrain, the house and also things like notary and commune fees, costs to connect the house to amenities).
- Check for loan. If you don't have the money beforehand, go to the bank and try to gauge if you're likely to get a loan and with which rate.
- Research the market. Look for parcels in different areas and see which ones are more suitable
- Establish a deadline. You can look for your ideal piece of land forever. It is more likely that you'll have to make a compromise (see the criteria and budget above). Establish a deadline and get the best you can.
- Before making an offer, investigate the piece of land. Go to the planning department in the commune and get as many details as you can. Go to the government (or get someone to do it for you) and get even more details.
- Negotiate. In some cases, depending on the owner, it's possible to go down on the price of the land. If it's a bidding game, set up a maximum amount and don't go over.
- Make the offer. Normally, you should not have to match the price on the first offer. I found it important to note that if the offer is refused, it only means that you can make another.
- BE: You'll need a Geometre. Search more and pick one which has a good rate and can do things in due time. Things include:
- Evaluate the land for the bank
- Draw plans for the architect
- Place bornes on the land and get the official delimitation
- Research companies which can build the house you like
- Start conversation with at least 2 companies. This will be good for negotiating the final price with whoever you pick.