Property Selection / Evaluation

"Without your site evaluation we would have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the wrong site.  Thanks to you, we avoided a major mistake and have now found the property which optimally suits our goals." ~Vanessa H. NYC

The optimal time to start land planning property developments is, of course, before purchase.
(For those with existing property please see our Site Consultation page).  

It's not rare that a new landowner turns around a year or three after purchasing only to realize that the land they chose is going to make realizing their goals far more challenging and expensive than they ever thought it would. Only before one chooses a property are all of the design possibilities available and the ability to pick a site that mathes one's dreams and goals truly possible.

We provide guidance in developing property selection goals and criteria and apply this information to properties in the region of interest. We perform an entire range of site selection services from regional property identification using GIS, to site inspections of prospective parcels for Vermont relocation projects to rural New England land procurement in general. We have an intimate working understanding of the New England climate as well as the cultural and physical landscape of Vermont. We start with a phone call, then a client meeting (usually on site), followed by a site visit(s). We assemble multi-property comparison reports when necessary.

For properties far afield we also offer online consults.  These include a review of your goals and project form first, reviewing your site via aerial imagery and contour maps, and about 1 hour with you (and your family/spouse/partners) on the computer (Skype connection) discussing the most pressing questions you have about your project, identifying primary opportunities and challenges to reaching your project goals and other foundational aspects of your project.  These consults cost $200 for about 1.25 hour with you (our research time happening before the call) and can be extended by the hour if needed.  These are conducted via Skype for screenshare abilities. Please email design@wholesystemsdesign.com for more on these consultations.

This process represents the most valuable pre-purchase land investment a prospective land owner can make. It's not unusual that our pre-purchase land inspection saves the buyer tens of thousands of dollars by alerting them to site issues in the same way a building inspection alerts one to structural issues. There are as many potential site problems as building problems, yet ironically, buyers do not often carefully inspect the site, or know how to.  

We help answer the following questions facing prospective land owners:

  • How affordable is this access? Is this road going to be expensive to maintain?  Is it well constructed and properly drained?

  • Is this a fair selling price? 
  • Is there a feasible house, pond, barn, garden, pasture or orchard site here?

  • Is this a warm or cold area of the region, what are schools like here, what's the culture of this part of the state?

  • Are these good soils? Is this healthy forest? What to do about this?

  • Is this poind going to have problems in the future?

  • Does this land have a good solar-oriented house site?

  • Is this site in a cold pocket or a warm microclimate?

  • Is this landscape suited to food production, timbering, animals?

  • Might permitting become an issue with developing this site?

  • Is this land too big or too small for what I want to do and how well suited is it to all of my goals?

  • What's it going to cost to develop access to this property? To bring power in or produce our own? To establish potable water, drill a well or tap into that spring?

  • Are there potential viewshed or soundscape issues we should know about?  What's this view going to look like at night - dark or light polluted?  Is there a snowmobile trail nearby that we'll have to listen to all winter long?  

...And a hundred other questions a land owner needs to address before knowing whether to purchase or to keep on looking.  As with most other disiplines, you have to know where to look to see the pontential challenges and opportunities.  Please email design@wholesystemsdesign.com for more on these consultations.