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Choosing a Lot in a New Home Community

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There are many things to consider when choosing a lot in a new home community. Choosing the right community for your family, then choosing the right area within the community, and finally the specific lot is a process of gradually narrowing your choices to a decision. In addition to this decision you will choose a house plan, decide how to position the home on the lot, and plan your landscaping. All these factors are interdependent, and one choice leads to another.

Choosing a Lot in a New Home Community: Bylaws, Regulations and Guidelines

In choosing a lot in a new home community, there are many considerations which will effect all the other decisions you will be making. Some of the most important factors are the bylaws, rules and guidelines of the community. Coupled with any other local ordinances these rules will determine the size of your home, the general style, the price range, the distance from the road and possibly the builder of your home. Many communities are built by a single home building company. Some communities have really exacting standards while others are a bit more free form. Which type of community you choose is a trade off, based on the principle that whatever freedoms you have will also be given to your neighbors, and whatever restrictions you have will also be imposed on your neighbors.

Choosing a Lot in a New Home Community: Benefits of Restrictions

When choosing a lot in a new home community many people prefer a lot of size and setback restrictions, and are comforted by the uniform appearance of homes in their community. There are several advantages to these seemingly intrusive regulations. The rules are there to protect property values, insure a socioeconomically homogeneous group of residents, and keep the community looking nice. Building a budget home, next to a luxury home would lower the value of the luxury home. Having a row of homes some of which are close to the road, and others far off the road might also look strange, especially if the lots are narrow and the road is straight.

Choosing a Lot in a New Home Community: Downside of Communities and Restrictions

• Can’t usually built small and add on to the house later
• There is no room for unique architecture
• You might have to forfeit your right to choose a different builder
• Neighbors will judge you by the size and quality of your home, and resent you if you choose the cheaper options.
• Your lifestyle will largely be determined by neighbors
• You may find yourself in a community of people you have little in common with despite the restrictions.

Choosing a Lot in a New Home Community: How Setback and Centering the Home Becomes a Factor in Choosing A Lot

Not everyone however finds comfort in regulations, even if they keep the neighborhood valuable and peaceful. It’s especially unfortunate if some of the lots do not lend well to the exact spot on which the home should be built. By reading the guidelines for placing your home, and measuring the distance from the road, and the property lines, there is often not very much choice of where the house will sit. If the lot does not lend to that mathematical calculation because of a low spot in the middle of the lot, it could take a lot of landscaping to level the lot.

Choosing a Lot in a New Home Community: Selecting the Specific Lot

• Have your builder, and perhaps a few other experts examine your lot before you buy it.

• It’s important to check for underground springs. Underground springs can destroy homes over time, making them unstable as well as damp.

• In damp to average climates with a normal amount of rainfall, choose the high ground to avoid flooding. In climates prone to rainy seasons, or sudden storms low lands are prone to flash floods.

• In dry and arid regions the valley may be more desirable, if there is little rainfall. Water runs to the lowest point, so you may find yourself benefiting from your neighbor’s lawn sprinklers if you choose a valley lot in a dry climate.

• While creeks and streams may be picturesque, it is important to understand the patterns of each creek or stream. Some of them flood their banks on a regular basis.

• Likewise lake levels may vary seasonally. Some developments around bodies of water really look ugly during certain seasons when water recedes to reveal a muddy river bed, due to dams or natural fluctuations. Even so Lake front property is costly and coveted.

• Level lots with fewer trees are easier to grade.

• Saving desirable trees in front of or near the house can be costly, so do not select your lot based on trees, unless they are in the back of the lot.

• Steep grades, especially slopes of over 30 degrees, can be costly to level. Cutting and backfilling a lot may make it unstable, and lead to erosion.

• If you plan to have a well and septic tank, you will need a perk test, and an expert to determine the chances of finding water. Many communities have their own water system or are on city water, but the smaller ones often have a well and septic installed on each lot.

Choosing a lot in a new home community is a major decision, so take your time and choose wisely. Selecting a community requires a lot of thought as well. Communities vary in what they have to offer. Some have amenities like community pools, golf courses, and nature trails. Many communities are gated as well. Other communities are small, have few restrictions and appeal to budget buyers. Which community you choose is determined by your own tastes, as well as budget. Some people do not choose the most exclusive community they can afford and prefer a smaller community with fewer restrictions. Choosing a lot in a new home community can determine your future happiness, so it is important to make a well informed decision.


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