When planning to build a new home, selecting a lot to build on is one of the most important decisions you will make. As real estate agents often say, the three most important aspects of marketable real estate are location, location and location. To home owners as well, location is the key to happiness in your home. Your choices are generally, city lot, suburban lot, country farm land, co-operative community, or tract style development. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of living. One person’s paradise on earth could make another person absolutely miserable, so selecting a location is all a matter of personal taste.
Before we get into the selecting a lot to build on advantages and disadvantages you might want to check out these two additional articles: Build on Your Lot and Building Lots: Finding Land to Build On.
Selecting a Lot to Build On Advantages and Disadvantages: City or Suburban Lot
A lot within the city limits can offer close neighbors, municipal water and sewer, access to public transportation, and often quicker response to emergency calls. Disadvantages include, less individual rights to use your property as you see fit. For example zoning might prevent you from running a business out of your home. There may be restrictions on how your home must look in order to blend with others in the neighborhood.
Parking could be a problem, either forcing you to park on the street, or not allowing you to park on the street. You could be required to build a garage with a door that closes to obscure the view of your car. In general city zoning and ordinances should be completely investigated before buying a lot within the city limits.
There is also a form of inferred ordinances involved in suburban life. Noise for example is not well tolerated, despite the fact that other people make other types of noise that may bother you. Lawn and exterior maintenance can become an issue with your neighbors if you differ on mowing frequency. In general having a home close to other homes can be a delight or a source of constant conflict depending on how similar or different you are from your neighbors.
Selecting a Lot to Build On Advantages and Disadvantages: Tract Style Developments
Living in a development is very similar to living in the suburbs, except municipal water and sewer may not be provided, and the houses can be further apart. Instead of zoning ordinances, developments have their own rules which may be very restrictive or completely non restrictive. Restrictions are a two way street, and while it may be nice to live without restrictions it may not be nice living next to neighbors who have no restrictions either. It is a good idea to know your neighbors and the neighborhood before selecting a lot near other homes.
Selecting a Lot to Build On Advantages and Disadvantages: Country Lots, Acreage, and Farms
First, it’s a little harder to get a construction loan on a large tract of acreage with a small home, than a small lot and a large house. Another issue is the need for a privately owned well and septic, because there is no municipal service in the country. For people who are accustomed to living in the country the absence of city water is a plus, but for those unaccustomed to maintaining their own well it could take some getting used to. In general the quality of well water is far superior to city water, and the absence of an extra utility bill offset the price of the well and septic system over time. Before land is sold it must be tested to make sure it is suitable for a septic tank.
No neighbors can be a great thing, however it is important to remember that 911 calls may not receive immediate response in the country, nor will you have access to public transportation. The expense of driving a good distance for supplies should be calculated into your future budgeting, and considered as an additional cost.
Selecting a Lot to Build On Advantages and Disadvantages: Land Features
When it comes to specific lots it is important to select higher ground in wet or flood prone climates. Beware of low land with creeks running through if flooding is typical. Hilly, unlevel lots may be more costly to build on, and while wooded lots are pretty they often cost more. You will need to find out from your contractor which trees can be saved, and which picturesque hills must be leveled to build your home. Clearing trees and leveling land can be expensive, and with that thought in mind, many people choose to build their homes on flat treeless lots.
It is very important for the building contractor to look at the lot or lots you are considering before you purchase the land. It is also advantageous to put the lot and the construction on the same construction loan and mortgage. Therefore do not buy land before discussing it with a building contractor. Selecting a lot to build on, requires the eye of an expert, who may spot potential problems before you do.