There are many factors in choosing the best lot to buy when building a home. There is the choice of rural, subdivision, suburb, or city, and the choice of living in a small town or a big city. Once you’ve considered these choices you will start to select a specific lot within your chosen area. Selecting a lot can be the single most important decision you will make in building a home. Location is the most important factor in real estate, and no part of a home is more important than the solid ground beneath it.
Finding the Best Lot to Buy when Building a Home: Consider the Rules
Once you’ve chosen the general area you wish to live in, it is important to first consider zoning restrictions, subdivision rules and city ordinances which regulate your home’s structure and your future lifestyle when choosing the best lot buy when building a home. Often people find that these rules are too restrictive for the home they want to build, or the lifestyle they wish to live. Inversely some people prefer strict restrictions in their communities. It is quite true that subdivision rules and community guidelines can protect your property values by keeping nearby homes similar in size, appearance and value to your own. They can also offer protection from annoying neighbors and the encroachment of industry to any nearby lots.
Rules are a two edged sword. On the one hand your home building choices may be limited by various ordinances and restrictions, but at the same time your neighbors being similarly restricted protects you from living next to a smelly farm, or a polluting factory. It will prevent cheap homes from being built next to your expensive one, or offer recourse in dealing with a noisy neighbor. How many and what type of ordinances will apply to your lot and to all nearby lots should always be a major consideration when choosing a lot.
Lots come in all shapes and sizes. Purchasing acreage in a rural area can provide you with a lot of privacy. Though in some areas the cost may be prohibitive, in many areas acreage in a slightly remote location can be amazingly affordable. Many people prefer remote acreage, but others find country life and long driving distances problematic. There are other options for those who want privacy without the long drive in the country. In some subdivisions, wooded lots with several acres are available. These sorts of developments offer the luxury of a wooded lot plus a shorter distance between your home and other homes. These sorts of lots are perfect for those who desire privacy, and the comforts of country living, while enjoying the protections of subdivision rules.
Not all people really want a large lot. Large lots can present upkeep problems, and place a distance between you and your neighbors. While some people crave privacy, others enjoy the companionship of close neighbors. Lots as small as one eighth of an acre are often found. In small towns and cities, 50 foot wide lots are available as well as 100 foot wide lots.
High land, low land, flat lots, hilly slopes, rocky soil, sandy soil, and clay all make a huge difference in desirability and the lot. In most areas low lands are prone to flash floods. Flooding can damage your home, and it can even be dangerous. It’s best to choose the higher ground when selecting a lot.
Finding the Best Lot to Buy When Building a Home: Geographic Features Hills
Hilly lots are beautiful, especially land on the side of a mountain, but be aware that land with more than a 30 degree slope can be very expensive to build on. Cut and fill is the process by which a steep grade can be leveled to place a home. Cut and fill is a process of cutting out earth and stone from the high side of the lot, and then using that soil to place on the low side to eventually level the ground under the home. There can be many problems with this, which involve high costs as well as special maintenance, and the risk of landslides, rockslides and erosion. Unless the process is done correctly and sometimes even if it is, there is a risk to your home, especially during heavy rains and storms.
Finding the Best Lot to Buy When Building a Home: Geographic Features Soil Types
Soil types are a major factor in your choice of foundations. Clay soil works best for a crawl space foundation. Rock can be a real problem when digging a footing or basement, and the risk of striking water is also greater in rock, especially in some areas. Sand has some special properties which builders must be conscious of as well. Yellow clay land, sometimes called tallow, is a sign that it may be impossible to place a septic system on the land.
Finding the Best Lot to Buy When Building a Home: Geographic Features Water
Underground springs can cause major structural problems. Sometimes a lot will have a small body of water on it during certain seasons, while at other times the land is dry. If this wet or flooded area is under the house, it can cause serious damage to your home. Look for wet spots and standing water. Ask neighbors who have lived in the area for several years if they have ever noticed there is a spring on the property. If the subdivision is relatively new, ask established, local neighbors. Take note of small hills and dips in the land. Often a spring will be surrounded by small hills. Have an expert examine your property for springs, and again, avoid low lying lands.
It is best to consult your builder and get a second expert opinion as well before buying a lot. Be sure to check the lot on several occasions before purchasing, and if you plan to place a well and septic system on your lot be sure to ask experts and have the appropriate tests before the purchase is final. In most states real estate laws will insure this, especially if you are getting a home builder’s loan. When paying cash for land, be sure to have all the tests and expert opinions required to build on the lot, before you buy. Finding the best lot to buy when building a home requires careful observation, and at least two expert opinions.