Lot & Land Development

Lot development includes all the work that is needed to take a piece of land and turn it into a homesite. Every lot is different which means the work needed varies with each lot and is dependent on many factors including but not limited to the factors listed below.

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

Typical Lot Development Costs

Typical costs listed are provided as a general reference. Though we do offer some of the services listed, this is not a price list for our services. 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.


Permit costs and requirements differ greatly in different areas. The list of permits required, aside from well and septic, usually include Zoning and Building. Zoning and building permits are usually based on the SF of your home.

However, keep in mind that some areas may also require additional permits or fees be paid for such as Driveways, Street Numbers/Addresses, DESC (Site Grading and Runoff), Occupancy, Architectural Review, Park Fees, etc. 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.

Septic System/ Sewer Line

We strongly recommend contacting the local Health Department or municipality for a site evaluation in the early stages of the building process to obtain the type of system required for your property. If you have not purchased the land yet, this information is critical in making sure you are paying the right price. 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 many heavy trucks delivering everything from concrete to kitchen cabinets running over your drive. It is important that the drive and culvert are durable and able to be accessed 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 Builder will review your specific construction drive needs at the lot walk. This item should include 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 and 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 foundation is in the right place and the proper elevation.

Electric and 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 resides 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

You will want to include money for at least a walkway from your drive to your front porch or stoop. If building in a subdivision, 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.