Where to start? How about the root of all buildings – the natural site you have selected for your new home. It may sound simple. You find a lot with a great view and lots of trees and you are ready to go.
Doing some research on your lot may uncover many variables that can affect whether the lot will work for your future home. Environmental site issues, Home Owners Association guidelines, governmental regulations, and also the type of home you want designed may create limitations on what you can do with your lot.
If your site is in a neighborhood, do some research into any restrictions dealing with the design or even how your house sits on the lot. You may think that since you are not building in a gated community, but locating near downtown, this shouldn’t matter yet it does. In some cases these neighborhoods have design restrictions as well.
Restrictions could be anything from exterior materials, roof slopes, design styles, etc. It could very well change your dream home from a modern style design to something that adheres to the rest of the development and may not be what you are wanting.
Other issues could deal with the topography. Some of your property may lie in a flood plain area and thus restrict where your house can be placed. Impervious coverage restrictions can also come into play for your site as well as other environmental issues including easements, which may not be initially apparent but can limit what portions of the lot you can use.
Natural elements such as existing trees and orientation of your lot in respect to sun angles will also play into how your new home works on your lot. It is best to situate certain rooms toward certain directions to accommodate the solar gain and prevailing winds, if possible.
Another major consideration is the type of design itself. If you have always wanted a large back yard for kids to play in and your site drops in slope, it may be costly to move the earth to build that flat play area. If you always wanted a courtyard house yet your lot stands with great views to the back then maybe the courtyard style may not be best to take full advantage of the site.
All of these are just examples of issues to consider when selecting a lot. It will be to your benefit to have a professional architect provide an analysis of your lot to see if it will suit your needs for your future residence. With this first step in building your dream home, take your time and make the right decision.