Choosing a lot to build on is a very important part of construction. There are many factors to consider. Location is probably the most important part of real estate, so exactly where the lot is located is of utmost importance. Drainage, land and water features are also a major consideration. Ground water plays a role in choosing a lot in many areas, as do hills, valleys and those odd little trenches that we often find on wooded lots. While natural springs and tiny creeks are nice on a large wooded lot, having one spring up under your home can be a disaster. It pays to ask an expert or even a few experts before choosing land.
Help in Choosing a Lot to Build On
Choosing a lot to build on is not a decision the homeowner should make alone. Your building contractor or home builder should aid you in this decision, in order to insure that your lot will lend well to the necessary landscaping. Further if you plan a well and septic, you will need to find out if the land perks for septic, and consult an expert to determine where a well should be placed.
Choosing a Lot to Build On Factors: Location
Location should probably be your first major concern. Location includes a variety of factors.
City, suburb, suburban subdivision, rural subdivision or rural acreage
City water and sewer or well and septic
What about community wells?
Neighbors and Communities
Zoning restrictions, and subdivision guidelines
Lot size is very important. Some subdivisions feature very small lots, while others feature lots of a few acres. You can also choose to buy acreage on farms and woodlands to get that peace and quiet you crave. First you must consider if the home you want will fit on it comfortably. Then consider how much space you desire between you and your neighbor. Some people can only be comfortable on a large acreage. They hear every sound, and worry about what is going on near them. Other people want neighbors to chat with, and gain a sense of security from living right next door to other families. It is all a mater of personal taste, but your choice will impact your sense of well being, so consider all your family members and make a wise decision.
Even if you choose remote acreage, eventually you may have to interact with your neighbors. If you are in a subdivision or suburb you will no doubt encounter even more of that sort of thing. Therefore, when choosing a lot you are also choosing neighbors, as well as their overall proximity to you. Neighbors can be a joy, but for some situations they can be crazy making. Consider the age, background, lifestyle, and overall disposition of your neighbors. Consider pets, children and the overall feel of the area.
Consider the nearby amenities. Some people enjoy being able to walk to a shopping area, or having a pool or tennis courts as part of their community benefits. Having a nearby restaurant or bar is a huge plus for some and a terrible problem for others. With gas prices rising, the distance to and from jobs, schools and major shopping areas is increasingly a factor in choosing a location for your home.
Water – while many people think they would like a stream running next to their homes, the fact is that this can cause flooding during rainy seasons. Also, streams re-route over time, and often natural springs pop up near these sorts of water features. Low lands also tend to get flooded out in heavy rains, especially near cities where there is a lot of water run off from paving. Higher ground is a good defense against flooding.
Level – A hilly lot can be very pretty and a house perched on the edge of a cliff can provide a breathtaking view. Unfortunately, there is a lot of added expense in grading for the home, and in some cases even a risk of catastrophic damage from unlevel ground. Plus mowing a lawn with a lot of small dips can be a pain.
Trees – Trees are great, except when you’d like to save them, and the home won’t quite fit between them. Have your home builder help you decide which trees can be saved on your lot. Sometimes there are options, but often you will have to give up many of the trees to accommodate your home.
Soil – While generally the soil is common to the general area, it is important to know that yellow clay, often called bull tallow, will not perk. It is also important to know that construction techniques in your area may vary from other areas due to soil conditions and weather. What may be perfectly sensible construction in one area makes no sense at all in another. If you are moving from another area, talk to local contractors about home building in your area to learn the differences the weather, water table and soil make in sensible construction on your lot.
For more information on lots and construction, download our 98 page booklet, and enjoy the rest of our extensive site. Educating yourself on this material will be invaluable during the construction process. Choosing a lot to build on is merely the start of an exciting family adventure in home building.