Custom Home Lot Selection
Lot selection is the first (and arguably the most important) step when considering building a new home. In my last post we talked about why selecting a lot before designing your home is so important. But now how do you select the lot that is right for your new home? Below are some key points to consider when searching for your ideal lot.
Keep in mind the criteria listed below will apply differently to each buyer. We all have our priorities and special likes and dislikes. The topics listed are there to help you find the strengths and weaknesses of a lot as it applies to your particular needs. As a long-timeLouisville Builder, I have found that one person’s perfect lot may be the worst lot for another. Try to think about you and your own family’s needs as you consider the following.
1. What part of town you wish to live in?
Keep in mind things like:
- School districts – find out where district boundaries are:
- Where you work – driving distances and traffic flow:
- Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana: www.trimarc.org
- Check to see if the area where you are looking has city/village, etc. taxes in addition to county taxes. This can be considerable and you could be paying for something you have no need for (i.e. schools, a large park system or a community pool).
- Where you and your family enjoy spending time:
- Are you an avid runner/biker/swimmer/golfer and need to be close to those recreation facilities?
- Do you frequent specific park systems?
- Are you active in certain organizations; is it important to be close by?
- Understand the location of the lots you are looking at and how they relate to:
Local Parks: www.louisvilleky.gov/metroparks
Tip: Use Google maps satellite view (www.maps.google.com) for a birds-eye view of the lot and surrounding areas. This will help you with a better overall orientation.
2. How long do you plan to stay in this home?
- Are you likely to be transferred with your job?
- Are you settled in your job and you plan to be here for an extended period of time?
- Can you see yourself in this home for 5, 10, 15 years?
If you are thinking you may need to sell in the next five years, you will need to be more sensitive to resale considerations than you would if you plan to stay in this home for a much longer period of time.
3. Do you have a set budget in mind?
Consider the following as it relates to cost:
- As a rule, you want to build a home that “fits” the neighborhood. This applies to the total cost and general design of the home.
- If you have a particular type or style of home in mind, your builder can help you with estimating the cost.
Tip: Keep in mind the age of the subdivision you are considering and the resale values you find (as new construction costs are normally higher than existing sales of older homes).
4. What level of privacy does the lot offer?
Consider your preferences for privacy and traffic:
The level of privacy, proximity to neighbors, and possible street traffic are important factors when considering a lot for your one-of-a-kind home.
- Do you prefer a more secluded setting with lots of space? Or is it important to you to interact with the surrounding neighbors?
- Is it a cut through (which could have a more traffic) but may provide quick access to your home? Or do you prefer a corner lot or a quiet street with minimal traffic? Those with small children may value being on a cul-de-sac or a dead end street.
Tip: Take the time to visit the lot at different times of day to observe the environment and see if it’s the right fit for you.
5. What is the orientation of the lot?
Which direction do you want your new home to face?
This may not seem like an important question, but placement/orientation of the home on the lot will significantly change how the house will function. For example:
- If the house faces West:
- Your backyard and the rear of the house will be shaded from hot afternoon sun. This will make a considerable difference in comfort when using any patio or deck in the afternoon and evening hours.
- If the house faces East:
- If you are considering a pool, having the hot afternoon sun may be an advantage for enjoying your backyard.
- Most houses have the majority of windows on the rear of the home, which means increased cooling costs in the summer as well as increased solar damage to furniture.
- If the house faces North or South:
- This is often the best compromise for those who want “some” sun.
Tip: If you have no choice on house placement, during the design phase, orienting the garage to face the harsh afternoon sun can act as a buffer to the rest of the home.
Stay tuned because next week, I’ll present the final five considerations to keep in mind when searching for your lot. Contact me if you have any questions or if you are searching for a lot and would like assistance with evaluating it for your new home.