While there are many advantages to building your own home on a lot, it also involves a lot of work and research if you want to do it right. First you have to find the right lot, with which quality home builders like CMS Homes are happy to help. Once you do find the right lot, you’re not done. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when positioning, or “siting,” your new home on a lot.
Follow the rules
Nearly all cities and counties have local rules and ordinances in place that put certain restrictions on what can be built on a piece of property. Be sure the property where you want to build isn’t zoned for other use — commercial or agricultural, for example. Also be sure to check with your local setback requirements, which regulate how far from the property line buildings must be, septic guidelines, etc. If you know you want a house of a certain size and it just fits on a prospective lot but wouldn’t meet the setback requirements, that’s something you want to know before spending a bunch of money. You can apply for exceptions (typically called “variances” in government parlance), but those usually require advance notice to any neighbors that might be affected, a public hearing with the local governing body, and even then there’s no guarantee it will be approved.
This is also good to remember in case you think you might one day like to add another structure to the property — a garage, shed, greenhouse, or even just an addition to your home. If the setback requirements are already tight, then future additions are likely out of the picture.
Pay attention to weather
A couple of the biggest things that will affect your home’s energy usage is where it gets hit by the sun and the wind, particularly in relation to where your windows are. Most experts recommend having a north- or south-facing home as far as lighting is concerned, but that may not be possible if your lot faces a north-south street. Also keep in mind things like where the wind or rain hit, and how that might differ from season to season. Some cute features may not be practical given the layout of your lot; that’s the type of thing design build firms like CMS Homes can help you investigate before building. Not only will careful planning save on your energy costs, but it minimizes your footprint and is better for the environment.
If you are looking at a lot because it has a killer view of a river or some other natural wonder, make sure you maximize that view when you build. Don’t just think about aesthetics; think about how you live. Will you go out on a deck to enjoy a sunrise, or are you more likely to curl up in a chair and soak in a sunset? And trees: If there are some on the property you’re considering, give careful thought to how they’ll affect the view from various angles. Are they full grown? If not, do some research to figure out how much bigger they’ll get. If they get damaged or fall, is it a potential threat to your house or garage?
Hills are probably the most obvious thing to consider, here. Houses on top of hills are designed differently than houses on flat ground, so if you’re working with a custom home that doesn’t account for that, changes could be tricky — and expensive. Topography also brings other things into account — what type of soil and ground is it? If you want to have a big garden, but the ground is the wrong type to grow much of anything besides grass, then it’s not going to be your dream home. Contact your local county Extension agent to help you determine what type of soil is there, and what that soil needs to thrive. How the land is situated also will determine important things like drainage. If you are building a house on top of a hill, then maybe that walk-out basement will work just fine. But if you’re building in a flood plain, then you’ll likely be dealing with flooded basements and expensive headaches.
If you’re building in a residential area, try to determine where the most sound will come from and how that will affect your home’s layout. If you’re at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, then maybe it won’t much matter. But if you’re down the street from a hospital or fire station, you might want to make sure your bedroom windows don’t face the sound of those sirens.
Wondering about other things that might affect your home’s lot position? Let us help! Contact us here.