As they say in the real estate business, the most important thing is “location, location, location.” This is equally true when buying a house that’s already been built as it is when selecting your custom home building site. If you’re in the process of selecting a building site for your new home, how can you be sure you’ve found the perfect location? Here are a few things to consider when making the selection.
Define your ideal location
What are your goals for the location of your new home? Do you want to live closer to work, family members, good schools? Do you want privacy and seclusion in a more remote location, or do you want to be in a more urban environment? Do you want a larger lot with a big yard for children to play in or room for a garden, pool or other hardscape features? Do you need room for outbuildings, like a mother-in-law suite or carriage house? Consider your possible site’s proximity and travel routes to essential locations, such as the grocery store.
Define your budget
What is your budget for your home? What will it cost to buy the lot, to build the home, to pay real estate or property taxes? These are all important factors to consider, and defining what portion of your new home’s budget you can spend on a site will help you narrow your search. You’ll also want to look into possible tax cuts you might be eligible for depending on how your home will be built, including breaks for more environmentally friendly building practices. You’ll also want to think about the potential resale value of the home, and location (as we mentioned) also factors into that figure.
Walk the property
If you have a site in mind, make sure you walk the property thoroughly. This doesn’t mean visiting it just once or twice. Walk it at different times of the day, and try commuting to and from the property to work, school and other important locations at critical times of the day. Consider the terrain—is it flat, sloped, rocky, hilly—and what challenges might arise during the build process or while you’re living there. Consider how much sun the area gets and what direction the plot faces. How close are your neighbors? These are all factors that can affect the build of your new home.
Research the property
While you should strive to get the most complete picture of the site possible during these walkthroughs, you won’t be able to see or learn everything about it. That’s where research comes in. You’ll likely be living at this location for many years, so you want to make sure you gather as much information on the site’s history as you can in order to understand it as best as possible.
Use whatever technology you have access to, such as Google Earth, to see the property during different seasons and in past years. Look into city or county zoning information for the property and compare any guidelines or restrictions against your vision for your home. Find out if you would be party to any neighborhood or homeowner associations and what guidelines they might have in terms of how your home is constructed.
Compare homes in the area and their valuation against what the possible value of your finished home will be and make sure you’ll fit in. Talk to your potential neighbors about what they like or dislike about the area, whether it’s traffic, noise or seasonal weather concerns like flooding.
Consult with your architect
If you’ve already selected residential architects to partner with on your custom home, be sure to get their opinions of the site and any possible advantages or disadvantages. They have resources and knowledge that aren’t available to you, so use them! Ensure your architect has the right experience and expertise and can provide the guidance necessary to accomplish your goals.
With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect custom home building site for your new home.