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  • Writer's pictureEd Cuming

Selecting a Building Site for Your Central Coast Custom Home

Thank you to Faríd Shahíd—founding partner of local real estate brokerage Eighty20 Group—for speaking with us and sharing his insights on finding a building site on the Central Coast!


Building site for a custom home in Huasna, California, with hills and oak trees

So, you've set your sights on building a custom home on the stunning Central Coast of California. But before you can break ground, you need to find the perfect plot of land to bring your dream home to life. Here, we'll delve into some crucial considerations and expert tips to guide you through the process of selecting your ideal building site.


Partner With a Trusted Realtor

An experienced realtor is essential to finding your building site. With their knowledge of local markets and regulations, they simplify the search process, matching your needs and budget to available properties. From negotiating deals to offering insights on neighborhoods, they can help you make a confident, informed choice for your custom home site.


Location Matters

The first step in finding the right site for your custom home is determining where you want to live. Are you drawn to the allure of coastal living, the tranquility of rolling hills, or the convenience of suburban amenities? Each location offers its own unique appeal and challenges.


View from a coastal building site for a custom home on the Central Coast

If you want to live near the ocean, in towns like Shell Beach and Pismo Beach, you’ll find breathtaking views but limited vacant lots for sale. Remaining available lots tend to be small or very large (think 5-10 acres). In such areas, you might consider purchasing a property with an existing structure for teardown and reconstruction.



For those interested in city living, the closer you get to a city center, like downtown San Luis Obispo or the Village of Arroyo Grande for example, there are not many vacant lots available for purchase. But by exploring the outskirts of town, you’ll find more options for vacant lots. Keep in mind permitting regulations and building requirements vary across jurisdictions, whether it's county land or within city limits.


Another opportunity for finding vacant lots, HOA-regulated communities can be worthwhile for those seeking a sense of community or additional amenities. For example, San Luis Obispo Country Club recently opened a new subdivision of vacant lots with access to exclusive facilities.


Climate Considerations

Climate may be a big determining factor for your site selection on the Central Coast. San Luis Obispo and our coastal towns are known for their mild weather. In contrast, North County cities like Paso Robles offer more affordable land options and their own unique charm and appeal, where you would enjoy colder winters and hotter summer days.


A large building site for a custom home in Arroyo Grande with oak trees in the hills

The climate of a potential building site also determines the native plants and animals that live there. In our region, regulations protect certain species and their habitats, such as the natural oaks. This can impact development, requiring environmental assessments, permits, and mitigation measures to ensure compliance.


Cost Calculations

In the best-case scenario, you break even, meaning the finished appraisal value of your property matches the land purchase and construction price. However, some homeowners may be comfortable with the prospect of investing more in their custom home than its potential resale value in order to create the home of their dreams, especially if they intend to reside there long-term without any plans to sell.


Collaborate with an Experienced Builder

When you're ready to purchase a lot, partnering with an experienced builder is essential. A seasoned builder familiar with your chosen city or municipality can provide invaluable insights into the reality of creating your home on the chosen site. They assist in crucial considerations, such as verifying a viable water source, assessing the property's size for accommodating desired structures, and addressing ingress and egress rights impacting the property. A builder can help you navigate these potential challenges and ensure that your home construction project will go smoothly.


At Ed Cuming Custom Homes, we're dedicated to helping you find your ideal building site and then assisting you through all phases of the process from buying a lot and laying plans, to permitting and building. Our team of capable experts can help you embark on your homebuilding journey with confidence, knowing that your vision will soon become a reality on the Central Coast.



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