The decision is final: You will build your own home! You know which builder you want to use and you have chosen a certain floorplan. All you have to do now is look for YOUR perfect lot.
Which are factors that you might consider when selecting a building site? Start with these:
- Drive the area and walk the neighborhood at different times of the day and week. How is the commute? How far is it to the nearest stores, churches, services? How are the schools in your district? The old saying "Location, Location, Location" still applies.
- Evaluate the area's outlook for growth. You might take a look at the builders masterplan for the subdivision and the area.
- Find out where future businesses, schools, community centers, golf course, train tracks, roads, heavily traveled highways, sewage systems, landfill will go. You can get an aerial overview with Google Maps or Google Earth?
- Take the time to research the taxes/fees in your subdivision: How high will future taxes be? Are there currently or in the future any special assessments? How high are the HOA fees - is there a master and a sub fee? Are there any additional fees (i.e.street assessments)that will be assessed at some point?
- Are covenants filed and the HOA already established? Generally, the developer is not even allowed to file the subdivision unless the covenants are ready and available to be filed at the same time.
- Your personal preferences: Location within the subdivision
- Is your lot close to the entrance of the subdivision? You might have more traffic and noise, how is the builder handling that?
- Cul-de-sacs are great for kids playing in the street because there is less through traffic. However the street design might make snow removal, fire rescue difficult; narrow front yards might not give you all the space you need for parking/using; Where are setbacks and easements on the lot? Backyards in Cul-de-Sacs are generally larger and provide more space to enjoy.
- Corner lots have traffic and sidewalks on two sides. These sidewalks need to be cleared of snow in the winter. Generally, corner lots come with larger lot sizes and allow for a side loaded garage.
- Lots at a T-intersection or facing an incoming street might have to deal with headlights of incoming traffic. When your home is planned you might want to consider that in order to minimize glaring lights in sleeping areas.
- Get an idea of the dimensions of the home to determine the footprint of it on your lot - how does it fit? Do you like it? What was the builders idea of placing it?
- What is the physical condition of the lot? Are there large rocks, lots of trees - this might incur extra developing cost. Are there issues with expanding soils? Was a soil test done - is it satisfactory? Are there embankments, outcroppings?
- What are the easements on this property? These easements are generally for utilities (but are there others?) Where are they located? Do they run along side the lot or through the lot.
- Southern exposure - large windows facing south will let you take advantage of the warm sun in the winter time, but will potentially heat up the home in the hot summer days
- Eastern exposure - any parts of the home oriented to the east will benefit from the morning sun
- Western exposure - any parts of the home facing west will take advantage of the afternoon sun. Western and southern exposures might make decks and patios very hot in the summer time.
- Northern exposure - In the winter snow and ice on driveway, walkway, patio will not melt as quickly as if you have some southern and/or western exposure.
- What is the topography of your lot? A gentle sloping is great for a walk out basement, while a steeper slope might leave you only little usable backyard space.
- What are the characteristics of your lot? How close will your neighbors be to you? What will go beside and behind you? How are your views? If there are any, where will the utility boxes go, are you ok with their placement?
There are advantages and disadvantages to every lot, however, if you know about them beforehand and you feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, chances are you have chosen the perfect lot for you!