Selecting a Lot for Your New Custom Home

Frequently Casas del Oso is asked to consult with clients on their lot purchase.  We love this opportunity.  In some cases it can save our clients thousands of dollars in construction costs & headaches.   We tell our clients that this is the way we approach lots; first, decide on the appropriate neighborhoods based upon the lots available in your price range or just above, understand the design review guidelines and procedures.  Some neighborhoods are tougher to work with; some require more documentation and take longer.  It’s important to have guidance on this from someone who knows the area.

When looking at the lots that fall into your range; there will generally be 3 to 6 lots that meet your criteria.  Some can quickly be eliminated because of views or lack thereof, major roads, proximity to the main gate or golf courses (if you scottsdale_custom_builderwant privacy).  It is certainly possible to design around lack of views but it’s pretty hard to make the major road go away; don’t be seduced by a low price.  In our area most lots have a predetermined building envelope.  Most neighborhoods will allow you to modify it; move it or change the shape of it.  You will not be allowed to expand it.  Your proposed home, garages, patios, courtyards and backyard all must fit into the building envelope.  It’s important that it be adequate in size.  Many neighborhoods have a NAOS requirement; that Is Native Area Open Space which essentially restricts what can be done in that area.  NAOS is actually a deed restriction designated to preserve the integrity of the desert; no structures, grading, filling, clearing or excavation of any kind is permitted in the NAOS.   These neighborhoods and much of Scottsdale’s desert and mountain areas have been designated by the Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance which requires NAOS.

The City of Scottsdale has several flood plains designated by FEMA and they are changed from time to time.  The flood plains usually require elevated building pads and flood insurance.  The city may require additional engineering for grading and drainage.  More information can be obtained at

The city also has a requirement that trees in good condition with a trunk caliper over 4” must be relocated on the lot.  This can be expensive if you have a forest of them however, these desert grown trees are valuable and with professional pruning can be spectacular.

How is the soil?  Sandy or boulders protruding; boulders are like icebergs; you can bet there are a lot more of them underground.

With the exception of close proximity to major roads the remaining concerns can be resolved during design & construction and may present wonderful opportunities.  Make sure you are an informed buyer when you make the decision to purchase.

If you have any questions when purchasing a lot, please do not hesitate to contact Casas del Oso for additional guidance.