It’s an exciting moment when you’ve decided to build your home home. You’ve chosen a builder, neighborhood, and floorplan, and now it’s time to choose the perfect lot for your new home!
There is a difference between selecting a lot for a custom home and a home in a developed subdivision. We have extensive experience guiding clients through the home building process, regardless of whether it’s a custom, semi custom or tract home and we’ve compiled some valuable tips below to assist you in selecting the ideal lot.
Tips for Choosing the Best Lot
1. Drive the area and walk the neighborhood at different times of the day and week. How is the commute from various locations within the neighborhood? How far is it to the closest amenities? This is also a good time to Research Zoning and Development Plans for zoning regulations and future development plans for the area surrounding the lot. This is especially important when you select a lot for a custom home that might not fall under predetermined guidelines that builders must follow. Understanding zoning ordinances can provide insights into potential restrictions or allowances for building size, height, setbacks, and land use.
2. Evaluate the area’s outlook for growth. Review the builder’s master plan for the subdivision and the area. What are the future development plans? This is where it’s important to lean on your experienced, local REALTOR who stays informed about development in the city. It’s impossible to predict everything, but researching a neighborhood and it’s surrounding area is very important, especially for a custom home. You can utilize your local city pages to start your research. For Colorado Springs, you can begin here:
3. Find out where future businesses, schools, community centers, golf course, train tracks, roads, heavily traveled highways, sewage systems, landfill will go. You can get an aerial overview with Google Maps or Google Earth.
Related Reading: Tips to Research a Neighborhood
4. Make a list of your personal preferences for a location within the subdivision. Do you want to be close to one of the parks? What about the community mailboxes?
5. Is your lot close to the entrance of the subdivision? You might have more traffic and noise. Does the builder have a plan to mitigate that?
6. Culs-de-sacs are great for kids playing in the street because there is less through traffic. However, the street design might make snow removal and fire rescue difficult. Narrow front yards might not give you all the space you need for parking. Where are setbacks and easements on the lot? Backyards in cul-de-sacs are generally larger and provide more outdoor space to enjoy.
7. Corner lots have traffic and sidewalks on two sides. These sidewalks need to be cleared of snow in the winter. Generally, corner lots come with larger lot sizes and might allow for a side loaded garage.
8. Lots at a T-intersection or facing an incoming street might have to deal with headlights of incoming traffic. When your home is planned you might want to consider that in order to minimize glaring lights in sleeping areas.
Related Reading: 5 Reasons to Work with a REALTOR for Your New Construction Home
9. Get an idea of the dimensions of the home to determine the footprint of it on your lot. How does it fit? Do you like it? What was the builders idea of placing it?
10. What is the physical condition of the lot? Are there large rocks or lots of trees? This might incur extra developing cost. Are there issues with expanding soils? Was a soil test done? Is it satisfactory? Are there embankments or outcroppings?
11. What are the easements on this property? These easements are generally for utilities, but are there others? Where are they located? Do they run along side the lot or through the lot.
Related Reading: Tips for Choosing a Builder
12. Sun Exposure:
- Southern exposure: large windows facing south will let you take advantage of the warm sun in the winter time, but will potentially heat up the home on hot summer days. Builders understand that buyers want a home with lots of windows to allow our beautiful Colorado sun to come through. A large wall of windows is also called a passive solar design. While hot in the summer time, it can provide valuable energy savings during cold winter days. E Windows or additional shades will have to be considered but is a great investment.
- Eastern exposure: any parts of the home oriented to the east will benefit from the morning sun.
- Western exposure: windows facing west will take advantage of the afternoon sun. Western and southern exposures might make decks and patios very hot in the summer time.
- Northern exposure: snow and ice on the driveway, walkway, patio will not melt as quickly as if you have some southern and/or western exposure.
13. What is the topography of your lot? A gentle sloping is great for a walk out basement, while a steeper slope might leave you with very little backyard space.
14. What are the characteristics of your lot? How close will your neighbors be? What will go beside and behind you? How are your views? Where will the utility boxes go and are you okay with their placement?
15. Since water, or the lack thereof, has always been a huge consideration in Colorado Springs, it is of utmost importance to know the water rights that are -or not- attached to the lot you are considering. An existing subdivision is most likely connected to city, community or association water. A home further out in the country or the mountains will need to have a well that might come restrictions on the amount or general use of the water. As a rule of thumb, the less expensive a lot, the fewer or “less quality” water rights.
Related Reading: Common New Construction Terms