How to Build Your Own Project in the Countryside: Part 1 Kendi arsanızda kendi evinizi yapmanın yolları: Bölüm 1

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So you want to buy a land somewhere and do something with it. Well, all of us are more similar to each other than we are different. That much is for sure. Therefore we all dream about many of the same things. One of those is to get some land outside of the city somewhere and build your own house on it. Perhaps just a small wooden cabin would be enough. A place to escape to on the weekends and reconnect with nature. A lot of people want to go one step further and leave the city completely. Perhaps a camping place or permaculture farm. Well, I definitely can relate. Afterall, we have always been 100% natural beings, completely biological, though sadly we forget it so often. Generally, it seems we are completely out of touch with nature and we react by destroying it. We kill any insect that gets into our homes. In regards to nature we don’t always act out of basic needs. We act to conquer it or tame it. Yet we forget that we are a part of all this. So its no wonder that many of us eventually seek to return to nature somehow, or at least to find a balance between the city life and it. However, the task can sometimes seem daunting…

I should know of course. I’ve started two different projects from the ground up over the years: Reflections Camp in the stunningly beautiful Kabak Valley and The Beyler House outside of Beyler village, Seferihisar, Izmir. Neither land had a water source waiting for me nor an electrical source to plug into. Both lands were far away from the nearest paved road. In fact, in 2002 in Kabak Valley you couldn’t drive a car down into the valley. You walked. You can imagine what that meant… And of course, neither land had an existing structure on it where I could move into. So what do you do and how do you start? Well, the first step of course is finding your dream land.

Step 1: Finding your dream land

All lands are beautiful. Some are steep and some are flat but most are somewhere inbetween. Some have big, wide open views and some have small, valley views. Some are forests and some are void of any trees. But for some reason they are always wonderful. I suppose it goes back to the fact that they are a part of that inherent nature that’s in all of us.

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Before buying there is one important consideration: are you going to obtain a building permit or not. In Turkey, if you are going to build with a building permit then there are different rules for each area. In short you need to get an ‘imar durum’ report from the Belediye. You could do that after you buy the land or perhaps better, have the owner of the land get one before you buy. At least ask before and they can tell you verbally what the situation is. Basically, if there is at least 1 meter of road (kadastro’da yolu) adjacent to your land and it is not a sit alan area then you can build at least 5%.

Cost of the land

The cost of the land is a huge concern for most people. Obviously it depends on the location for the most part but it also depends on other factors.

  • Is it by the sea or inland?

  • Is The land facing south so you get plenty of sun?

  • Transportation:how far is The land from building material sources?

  • How much are the trees or vinyards producing?

  • Does it have a year round water source or no water source

  • Is it easy to hook up electricity or not

  • Does it have a paved road, dirt road or no road at all

  • Can the land be divided into two separate parcels?

In the end, you might get a cheaper land but many times you will end up paying the same price if you have to install solar panels for electricity or drill for water for example. But those lands that have easy electricity and water hook ups might be close to a village. Perhaps you want to be a little farther away. For The Beyler House project we deliberately chose a land away from the sea and one kilometer from the village. As a result, we had to install a large enough solar panel system to fulfill our needs and spend quite a bit of money on a large enough water cistern in order to collect enough rain water during the winter time. In the end, however, many of those things might not matter too much to you. If you love the land, then, well, you love the land…

Other Considerations

On even the steepest and most difficult of lands usually building something is possible. The question is how much energy and cost are you willing to spend. A steep land is not necessarily a bad choice. Though it’s always easier to carry materials down into your land opposed to carrying them up. That means on a steep land preferably whatever road is near or adjacent to your land it could be nice if it’s at the top of the land. Again, though, anything is possible.

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There are other things to be aware of when purchasing a land. After we started The Beyler House a man from the village tried to sell us a land with these amazingly old olive trees all over it. Not only was it obvious that others were dumping trash on the adjacent land but we later learned that right next to his land was where the waste pipe from the village dumped out. So be alert. Another thing to be aware of is that many lands are only accesible by roads that cut through other people’s lands. So you cannot get legal permission to build because the road is not a mapped road. There’s not much worry of another land owner blocking your way if the other land owners are from the village, just something to be aware of. As well, a lot of land advertisements say they have water but many times this is in the form of a kuyu. So water seeps into the kuyu and collects there. But is the amount of water seeping into the kuyu enough for you in August, September and October?

Many times the owner or real estate agent will show you the land and tell you where the borders are. This may be far from accurate though. In Kabak both the previous owner and a neighbor showed me where the borders of my land were. I believe they were sincere but when I had it offically measured I saw that it was actually smaller than they had shown me.  Most villagers know there borders but after it’s officially mapped it may change a bit. With the The Beyler House project the real estate agent showed me the land but didn’t know the exact borders. It turns out that what he showed me was only about 80% of the land. I got a map from the Kadastro office later (before I bought it) and roughly measured it myself. I realized that there was a whole other area which he didn’t know about and this convinced me to buy the land.

In the end, any land will do. Just love it and you can work with it. Next time I’ll talk about transporting materials and how to find water and electricity. And perhaps I’ll get to building options.

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