Building your dream home is an opportunity for you to create something personal that meets all of your needs. You can choose the layout and the number of rooms, and you don’t have to worry about renovating around someone else’s design aesthetic. While this sounds like an exciting prospect, choosing the right place to build your home can determine how successful your efforts will be.
There are several factors that you should consider if you plan to build a home.
Use this guide to make sure you choose the best plot of land possible.
Follow the “Four S’s” to Build a Home
When you’re considering the actual property to build your home, consider the “Four S’s.” They are slope, sun, soil, and sewer.
Each “S” will determine the ease or complexity (and therefore cost) of building your home and will also determine the aesthetic of your home.
- Slope: the slope of your house is whether it is built on a hill or not. Houses built on hills will require more structural support, but they can open up your space to different home styles and designs. For example, many homebuilders will set the entrance to the house on the hill but then have a walk-out basement at ground level.
- Sun: Consider how much sunlight you want in your home and where you want the sun to hit. You might not want the master bedroom to face east because it will get the sun first thing in the morning. Position common areas where they will get the most sunlight during the day, and try to avoid blinding your family by staring into the sunset at night.
- Soil: The soil varies from property-to-property. You might know that desert homes are built on the sand while southern homes are built on clay, but the makeup of the soil can change over a few dozen feet. If you are building on difficult soil, you may need more reinforcements or face water drainage problems in the future.
- Sewer: Consider where the sewer line is on your home or what kind of sewage needs you will have to incorporate. The depth of the sewer line will determine the kind of basement you have, as everything must “float downhill” from your house.
As you can see from these four criteria alone, your dream plot of land could actually create a nightmare situation if it lacks the right soil and sewer set up, or if the slope makes your building process exponentially more expensive.
Consider the Value of Homes Built Nearby
You may have the budget and desire to build a five-bedroom home with significant acreage and amenities, but you need to consider the other homes in the area. If most homes are smaller and only have two or three bedrooms, then constructing your personal castle could diminish your home value over time.
Real estate is governed by the principles of progression and regression:
- The value of a property increases when it is surrounded by homes of greater value.
- The value of a property decreases when it is surrounded by homes of lesser value.
This means that you will raise the value of your neighbor’s property when you build a home that is considerably larger, but your home will be worth less.
While you may think you plan to live in that home forever, eventually someone in your family may want to sell the house. It is also considerably harder to sell the nicest home in the neighborhood because the price seems expensive compared to the prices of the houses around it.
Choose Your Land Near Good Schools and Neighborhoods
You may be surprised how specific district lines are in your area. Two people can live across the street from each other, but attend different schools and vote for different elected officials. Even if you don’t have kids now, you may want to keep the local school system in mind if you decide to have children. If you do not plan to have kids, the location of your home can determine its resale value to parents and families.
Neighborhoods change over the years, and an affordable plot of land that you buy now could increase in value as the neighborhood rises over the next decade. However, there is no guarantee of that happening, and you could always feel like you’re living just outside of where you want to be.