I Need Help On Buying Property...


Eye see you...
11 Years
May 17, 2008
Here, there, and everywhere...
I have no experience buying land and building a home. Yet that is EXACTLY what my husband and I are planning to do.
And not just any home, but my dream, a Timberline Dome House!

I am SO EXCITED to get started planning but I haven't the slightest idea where to start!!!

Much of the finding and planning will be on my since my husband works two jobs and isn't home much.

We need land to put said Dome home on, but I am SO confused when looking at land for sale.
We are looking for 35+ acres in preferably New Hampshire but open to most New England and possibly other states! We love the moutain views in NH.
I am not sure whether we should look at raw land, land that is already cleared and/or approved for certain home sizes, etc.
Then there is the possibility of buying a really crummy fixer upper house on land we like and just demonlishing the house to put our Dome on it!
My head is spinning.

Could someone explain to me the surveyed land thing?
Am I correct in thinking that we would be taking a gamble buying land that is not approved for anything and thus "raw" because if we didn't get approved for the size of home we plan to build we are then poo out of luck and then would need to sell that land?

Last edited:
I suggest starting by deciding where you want to live at least the state...lol.

Then contact a reputable realtor in that area. Let her/him know exactly what kind of home you are planning on putting up so as to make sure there are no zoning issues.
The realtor can then often connect you to the right (good) people in the are who can do your well/driveway etc.

Realtors are a god-send when purchasing a home or land for a home. They are often the best connected people in the area!

Its a start
Buying land in New England...oh boy, is it ever exciting.

Land in general:

Is it going to have town sewer or septic? If septic, it will need to have a perc test done. Purchase can be made conditional on a passing perc test, BUT because perc tests are relatively inexpensive compared to the asking price of already-perc'ed land, it is very rare to find a piece of land in New England that is for sale without one and will pass easily without a lot of engineering.

It is possible to engineer land that does not have a passing perc. But it is expensive. Think, twice as much as the cost of the house, expensive. If you find six pieces of land that seem perfect--within your price range, in a nice town, good view--chances are that at least five have something horribly wrong with them.

The further north you go, the easier it will be to find land. And, the higher unemployment rates will be. If you need a job, or may need a job in the future, it's something to consider; more jobs are close to Boston.

When you find a piece of land, will the city/town allow you to build this type of house? In New Hampshire, the building codes are run by the towns and cities, not by the state--but that doesn't make them any less weird or byzantine. In fact, they can be worse because instead of a retired civil engineer or builder who might actually know something about construction, they tend to be written by the local yahoo whose brother's cousin's friend's neighbor said it was OK to build houses that spontaneously combust or something. Dome houses, log cabins, straw bales, etc. can all cause some building permit issuers to raise eyebrows and deny them just because--and there is no one to appeal to, nothing to be done about it. You need to find land for sale in a town/city limit that is open to creative construction methods. And that's not even considering the wetland conservation issues.

Can you find a builder who can build this exact type of house for you, who has lots of experience and good references, and who serves the particular area in which you wish to buy? I say this from long, hard and sad experience: LOTS of contractors (not all, but LOTS AND LOTS) are rip-off artists. Plenty MORE contractors simply don't know how to build anything that isn't stud-wall construction, drywall, and mass-produced finish millwork from Home Despot, yet they will be happy to tell you they can build a rocket ship to the moon. You want to get a reference list, and you want to call and email those references, Google the contractor's name, drive by some of their previous work or ongoing job sites if you can, bringing along someone who is knowledgeable about construction methods. If you buy in a state where building codes and contractor licenses are issued by the state, check that their license is current and up to date--the states typically have an online database.

Lots of builders who build unusual types of houses do not serve the widest area ever. They tend to be few and far between. That's to be expected, but it also means you have to be extra-careful about where you go and who you go with, because in the event that things don't work out, you have no other option.

Don't mean to discourage you, but it is an insane amount of stress, building a house. There is not much land in New England that is buildable and has not yet been built on. You and your husband have to sort of hunker down and be prepared for a certain amount of nasty surprises.
Don't worry, you're not. We're expecting this to be a LOONG haul...
Thanks for all the info!

There is plenty of land in New England left to build on. You just have to move away from the city.
Dh likes the idea of buying a plot of land that already has a fixer upper home or trailer on it to live in while we build... That way we aren't paying the mortgage and rent for somewhere else...

I'm still trying to nail down a state!

What a long process this will be!
I have ordered my dome planning kit from Timberline. In the kit they send you a list of people who have also built dome homes in your area that happily allow visitors. They say they have homes in all 50 states.
I cannot wait to see if we can visit someone in NE and talk with them about their buidling process, who they used for a contractor, etc.
My Dad dreamed of a Dome Home his whole life...and he finally fulfilled his dream about 10 years ago. He LOVES his geodesic dome! I helped him build it, too...a little... I need to find pics and upload them for you.

I don't know anything about land in the northeast...my dad has 3.5 acres in the "Hill Country", just west of Austin, TX.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom