To build your dream home, you must first consider what does your dream lot look like? The site on which you build your home is often the first step in the design process! Your budget, desired location, and the type of home you want will be important factors choosing your new home site! Here are three quick tips to help you choose.
1. Lot Slope
The slope of the property can have a big effect on the cost of your project – a house placed on a slope will more than likely cost more to build than a house on a flatter lot. Building at the top or bottom of a hill is more cost effective than building into the side of the slope. One big advantage of a sloping lot is the ability to included a “walk-out” basement in the design. It’s one way to increase finished space in your house for a relatively low cost. Homes on sloped lots often require more gravel back-fill material at the foundation; they might need expensive retaining walls to create a flat area for a driveway or hold back soil at the walk-out. Be sure to carefully take into consideration any possible impact that a sloped lot may have on the design and cost of your dream home!
2. Sun and Shade
Many homes are designed with the primary family living spaces at the back (kitchen, breakfast room, family room). These are the rooms you want sunlight in; the rooms with all the expensive windows. You’ll get more of that sunlight through those windows if the back of the house faces more or less south. What if the lot you want doesn’t have southern exposure as an option? You’ll still be okay; houses are designed to keep heat in, or to keep heat out, depending on the season. The easiest and least expensive way to keep heat out of the house is with proper placement of the windows and doors, as well as strategically placed landscaping such as shade trees. One added benefit to consider is facing your driveway south, so that in the winter the snow on your driveway will melt faster!
The old saying “everything flows downhill” is extremely important to remember when designing your home. On a developed lot, the municipal sanitary sewer line is normally buried near the front of the lot. The height of this pipe will determine the depth below grade of the basement slab since the effluent from the house must “flow downhill” to the sewer line.
An undeveloped lot is one where the utilities – electricity, water, gas, and public sewer – aren’t brought from the street to the build area of the lot. On such a lot, you’ll need some type of private sanitation system. Since a private sanitation system is more expensive than connecting to a public system, the cost isn’t typically considered in the “base” cost of building a house. A private sanitation system is usually an “extra.” It is also important that you follow all sanitation laws and regulation that exist where you are building. Permits and fees can add up and affect your overall cost, so plan ahead!
These are just three tips to help you determine which site best suits your dream home!