You've come to the place in your life where you can fulfill your dream and build your own house. You'll get to have it be just what you want it to be, with every feature you want and every designer touch you fancy. Now you face a larger question – where to put this house of your dreams? You need to select a lot. It can seem so confusing trying to narrow down what qualities to look for, and where to place your home. Here are a few questions to answer that should help make this part of the process a little easier.
First, decide whenever you want to live in the city, the country, or somewhere in between. You will not be happy in the most perfect home that is in an area you hate. Then take it for a test drive – literally. Drive around to see how the neighborhood looks, how your commute to work will be (if you still have one), and how close the schools are. You will also need to consider how good the schools are. You should look at the area at varying times of day to see if people just exist there or if they really live there.
Check the noise level – are you right next to a train station? Do you hear the freeway from your property? Are you downhill from a landfill? Are there a lot of open lots in your area that will be developed soon, meaning you'll hear the noise of big equipment for months on end? Is your property on a main road or near the entrance to a neighborhood?
What kinds of parks, roads, and other services are available? If there are not enough right now, what plans are in place for the city or county to add them? Are you close enough to doctors and dentists?
Are you in a slide zone or an area before to earthquakes? How about other natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes? Are there a lot of big rocks or other debris that need to be cleared? Are you looking at a property with a large southern exposure? This can be great in the winter for heating and lighting, but a bear in the summer in warmer climates.
How expensive is the area? Is the cost of living there very high, or are property taxes low? Are you better off buying a corner lot or one set on a side street? What was this piece of property before? This is especially important in urban settings because that property might once have been the site of a gas station or other toxic chemical business.
What zoning was this area cleared for before? What is the surrounding area zoned for now and in the future? You might have what you think is an unobstructed view of the countryside, but in the future there will be apartment buildings tucked into that valley.
Perhaps more important than any of the others – will the home you want to build fit on the lot you are looking at?
Armed with the answers to these questions, you can set out to find the perfect property on which to build your perfect house.