Planning your build

6 Things to Look for When Purchasing a Lot to Build On

If you’ve decided to build a new home with G.J Gardner Homes, you’ll probably need to source a piece of land. Finding the right lot isn’t always straightforward – size, shape and location are just some of the first things that spring to mind when thinking of elements that will inform your buying decision. But that’s not all that you’ll need to keep front of mind! In this post, we examine the most important considerations to make when looking for a lot.

  1. Location
  2. Size and shape of the lot
  3. Slopes
  4. Soil, rocks and trees
  5. Orientation of the lot
  6. Cost of utilities

1. Location

Ideally, the lot you buy should be close to the nearest amenities – shops, schools, hospitals, parks, public transport – in a street that makes sense for you and your family. It’s no secret that one of the most important things to consider before buying land is the real estate mantra – “Location, Location, Location”. This slogan is still just as relevant today as when it was first coined in the mid-20th Century.

Additionally, while it is more than likely your building developer has already researched your piece of land, you must remember to verify any forest fire, tornado, or earthquake risks with your local city or country office. These dangers can impact your insurance costs and ability to receive finance for your project.

As a rule of thumb, you should to be careful when considering land near to forests, waterways, and fault lines.

2. Size, Shape and Aspect

First, you should consider the size of your lot relative to your personal circumstance. For instance, a family will need a larger lot in order to add extra bedrooms and so on, whereas a single owner or a couple may need less space. Your home design is, therefore, vital to the size of your chosen lot.

It goes without saying that your block will have to accommodate the house you are planning on building. A flat, rectangular block that faces the street is the most popular choice. As a result, these blocks will often fetch a higher price in suburban areas.

Moreover, it’s worth remembering that more “unique or unusual” pieces of land – such as L-shape or corner lots – may be more difficult to sell when the time comes. These irregular lots can create some constraints on the type of structure you can realistically build on it. However, these irregular lots have some pros. For instance, the battle-axe lot usually has a lower price and the corner lot allows for the potential of a subdivision.

3. Sloping Lots

A sloping lot with a stunning view can be difficult to resist. Although, it should to be known that a sloping lot requires far more preparation before it comes time to build. If a sloping lot is your dream, it’s vital to receive advice from a professional builder before agreeing to the purchase. It is very likely that your builder will have to carve into the slope in order to create some space for the level slab. Additionally, retaining walls may also be necessary in order to have stable soil that adheres to local standards. This preparation can be very expensive, so you should be aware of the cost.

Similarly, if your lot is located below street level or at the bottom of a slope, you will have to discuss draining issues with your developer.

4. Soil, Rocks and Trees

If you’re buying a piece of land in an unestablished, rural area (without prior soil testing), you should have a soil test administered on your lot. This is necessary as a lot with an unwanted soil class can be very costly to stabilize. Likewise, lots which are rocky or in need of tree removal will cost more to build on.

5. Orientation of the Lot

One of the most important aspects of construction, according to engineers and architects, is the orientation of the build.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the most popular orientation for the front of the house is a south-facing build. A south-facing property allows the sun to passively heat your home in Winter, helping you save on your electricity bill. It’s worth consulting with your home builder, as they know how you can do this most efficiently based on your location and the weather conditions you experience over an average year. Carefully choosing the placement of your land will not only reduce your heating bills but also allow your house to be ‘greener’.

It is not only the placement of the house that will be important, where windows are located will have a significant impact on your electricity bill. So you should consider the placement of rooms, windows and so on before buying your land.

6. Cost of Utilities

A common oversight when buying land is to forget about the utilities. Fortunately, in most cases of housing or estate development, your developer will have already arranged the street connections for the electricity, water, sewer lines, gas, and telecommunications.

However, if you’re hoping to purchase land in an undeveloped or rural area, it is vital that you do your research. Your costs to build will rise significantly if you need to install infrastructure such as any of those mentioned above.

In short, your lot that you decide to build on should be something you put a great deal of thought into if you want to avoid any undue costs or headaches down the track. Buying your own lot is an enjoyable experience, provided you do your research and get a professional building opinion along the way.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we strive to take the complexity and stress out of buying land: we’re able to source quality pieces of land, a range of custom house designs and house and land packages to build with you. For further information, please contact us for a friendly, no-obligation chat.