We’ll that’s a good question. One thing is sure, there’s got to be a site that’s right for you somewhere for your new home… It just might take a little hunting.
So where do you look for that perfect place to build your new home?
That depends on the answers to a few questions. First you’ve got to consider if you want to build your new home in an urban area or rural area. Once you’ve made that decision, then the job of finding that spot for your new home becomes easier.
The second thing is you have to find a site that works with the footprint and design of your proposed new home. For example, if your plan calls for a walkout basement you can’t select a site that is flat as a pancake. Or if your new home plan involves a sprawling one story ranch, you can’t select a site that will only fit a two story home.
You get the idea, right?
The third thing you need to think about is your lifestyle. If you have children will there be other kids nearby and is it in a desirable school district? If you enjoy gardening, will there be enough space? If you like golf, are there potential new home sites near a golf course.
Again, you get the idea.
And the fourth thing you need to consider is the cost. I say cost because there is the initial cost of the lot or land, but there will be additional cost. On lots you’ll most likely have utility hookup or tap fees into your new home. Sometimes there are impact fees, which are fees to help pay the cost of sidewalks, roads or other community infrastructure. You also need to think about property tax, assessments and homeowners’ association fees in some cases.
Depending on the site you could see additional increases in building cost for your new home. For example, if you need a long driveway you’ll need more concrete, which increases cost. Or your site may require extensive backfill or infill.
If you’re thinking rural there might not be a road leading to it. You’ll probably need a well and a septic system. All this and more needs to be considered before a home can be built, and all this takes time and money. So if you’re thinking rural, be sure to plan your schedule and your finances accordingly.
Oh before I go any further, let me quickly touch on a quick definition. I might have confused some of you, so I thought I would clear the air.
You might be wondering what the difference is between a lot and land?
A lot is (or is nearly) construction-ready and is usually part of a subdivision. It’s been cleared. Its boundaries have been defined and utility lines are already installed or will soon be.
A piece of land is still in raw form. It’s not cleared in most cases and is usually located in a rural setting.
Now back to selecting a site for your new home. I’ve already gone over the big four, but I thought the following checklist would be useful in thinking about the right site for you.
Here’s a comprehensive checklist when looking at a site:
1. How close is your work?
2. How convenient is shopping?
3. Do the schools meet your satisfaction?
4. Does the location match your lifestyle?
5. How close are parks and recreation?
6. How close are you to fire and police protection?
7. Are there municipal/county services available such as snow plowing, street maintenance, etc.?
8. How close are medical services?
9. Is there public transportation nearby?
Property Value Consideration
10. Are the neighboring homes well maintained?
11. Is the neighborhood appealing to the eye?
12. Are there a lot of cars parked on the street and what condition are the cars?
13. What are the conditions of the roads in the neighborhood?
14. Does the neighborhood have sidewalks?
15. Will your home design be similar in size and style to others in the neighborhood?
Are area property values appreciating or depreciating?
16. What is the crime rate in the area?
17. What is the zoning near your neighborhood, i.e., multifamily residential, agriculture, commercial, industrial, etc.
18. Is there potential that zoning could be changed in the future?
19. Are there future developments planned for the area such as highways,
20. Is there noise pollution nearby such as airports, highways, railroads, factories, etc.?
21. Is there a landfill or sewage treatment facility nearby?
22. Is the lot/land located on a busy street or near heavy traffic?
23. Is the view from your lot/land what you desire?
24. Does your lot/land offer the privacy you desire?
25. Have you visited your lot/land at different times of the day checking for unusual activity or noise?
26. Is parking an issue in the area?
27. Does the lot/land provide for possible expansion in the future?
28. If you have children will they have similarly aged playmates?
29. Have you checked with the city/county planning department to see if they see any issues with your lot/land?
30. Have you checked to see if there are encroachments on the property?
31. Have you checked to see if there are easements or right of ways on the property?
32. Have you checked to see if there are setback requirements?
33. Have you checked to see if a zoning variance is required to build?
34. Have you checked to see if the neighborhood has any special rules, regulations bylaws or covenants?
35. Are there size or height requirements/restrictions in the neighborhood?
36. Are there any restrictions on animals or pets?
37. Did you check to see if there are any issues with the soil relating to construction?
38. Will you have to do extensive fill removal or replacement?
39. Does the lot/land drain water properly?
40. Are water and sewer lines easily accessible?
41. Are utilities such as phone, cable, gas, etc. easily accessible?
42. Does a septic system need to be installed?
43. Will you need to dig a well for water?