When Looking for a Building Site for My New Home, What Do I Look For?
When searching for a lot to build your home on, there are many things to consider.
Some of these are; local bylaws, flooding, sun and wind direction, privacy, noise concerns, amenities, views, flat or sloped lot, style of the neighbourhood, infill or new sub-division and rural or urban.
Let’s briefly talk about each one of these considerations:
Local Bylaws – each neighbourhood is governed by a Municipal Development Plan. When looking at a specific lot, especially in an infill situation, it is important to know what the local bylaws are. Some neighbourhoods allow rental units, some don’t…. some allow front drive garages, some don’t. It’s best to be in the know so that you don’t get any surprises.
Flooding – has the land you are looking at ever flooded… is it situated in the 100-year flood plain? Are there remedies?
Sun and Wind direction – Which direction are the prevailing winds coming from? How strong are the winds? How much solar gain will my home realize in the winter… and will I be able to sit on my deck in the summer?
Privacy – will I have any privacy when in my backyard, or on my deck? If I have a hot tub in my backyard, what are the sightlines from all of the neighbours?
Noise concerns – Does the lot back onto a road… or an intersection? How will this impact my lifestyle? Are there a lot of dogs in the neighbourhood? Are there a lot of kids playing in the streets or on the other side of your fence?
Amenities – how far away are the schools? Is shopping close by? What will my commute to work, church…or the gym be like?
Views – when I look out my windows, what will I be looking at? Will I see open fields, a coulee… or will I be looking directly into another person’s home or perhaps their deck?
Flat or sloped lot – flat lots are easier to build on, but perhaps you wanted a walk-out lot? Typically, sloped lots end up costing more to the landscape but can make the finished product way more interesting.
Style of the neighbourhood (architectural controls) – each new subdivision comes with some architectural controls. Some are more stringent than others. Some areas allow vinyl siding, some do not. Other areas insist on clay tile roofs, while others allow asphalt shingles. It is important to know what the controls are so that you are not disappointed when building your home.
Infill or new subdivision – there are advantages and disadvantages to both new subdivisions and infill lots. Infill lots mean that you take down an existing home in an established neighbourhood and build a new home in its place. Some of the advantages of this procedure are that you are moving into an area with mature trees and you won’t be living in a construction zone for a number of years. Some of the advantages of a new subdivision are new roads, sidewalks and infrastructure. The area is also a little more homogeneous because all of the homes are built in the same decade.
Rural or Urban – does country living appeal to you…or do you enjoy the City. Rural living can be very peaceful and calming, but it also comes with a lot of extra work. What might your utility bills look like in the country vs. the City? Do you enjoy being close to shopping, friends and other amenities, then City living is for you?
Your builder should discuss all of these important issues with you when you are looking for a place to call home.