How to Buy Land to Build a House

Hello Carl,

First of all, very informative site and thanks for putting it together.

We are in the evaluation phase of buying a land and building a house. The land is a plot in a developed subdivision.

I could not find information on how the electrical, gas, telephone, television cable lines will come to the property from the subdivision endpoint.

Is this usually done by the General Contractor or each utility company has to do its part?

How much is the cost of drawing the pipes/wires from a subdivision endpoint to the property, any idea?

I will be in the Northern California's East Bay region.

Thank you, B

Hi B.D.

Before you purchase a lot in a developed subdivision, you should be able to find out what utilities are available and how much they will cost to bring to your property line if they aren’t, in fact, already at your property line.

It is inconceivable to me that a subdivision plot would be approved by the state and local building authorities without this information.

I would not even consider buying a lot without this information, as the cost of running underground (or overhead) utilities from the “subdivision endpoint”, would be prohibitive for an individual, if in fact, “endpoint” means the outer most boundary of the plot (plat).

Once all the utilities are run to each lot, it is up to the General Contractor (home builder) to arrange the work and payment for the continuation of running the respective services (gas, electric, water, etc.) to the house during construction of the house..

The actual labor and material for running these services, although paid for by the builder (and ultimately you) varies by each utility and local codes and customs.

Estimates of what these costs should run are easily obtained from each utility and/or subcontractor who will be doing the jobs.

Also, the developer, the developer’s sales agent, or the real estate broker selling the lot should be able to answer most of your questions.

If you have further questions or if I have missed a point of information let me know and I will amend my answer.

Good luck, Carl Heldmann
PS. Read my page on “Utilities” on