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Choosing the Right House Plan - continued

Choosing a home building lot for your house plan

Flat building lots are often seen as ideal because they are less difficult and less expensive to build on, but they can be rare in certain areas and are definitely not as eye-catching as dramatic sloping lots. And there are some benefits to sloping lots, anyway. They allow you to tuck the garage under the house—which has the benefit of hiding it from view in some cases, and condensing the foundation to reduce its cost—and possibly plan for a daylight basement.

Narrow lots generally require a house design that rises up or stretches back instead of spreading out. These are common in high population and popular vacation areas. On the other hand, wider shallow lots are ideal for broad one-story house plans, which are favored in places with more space available.

Scenic lots or sloping lots have spectacular views and will inspire you to choose a house plan that includes large panoramic windows and roomy outdoor deck space. This is perfect if you love to take in beautiful natural sights!

Another important thing to consider when buying a new house plan is how many cars you currently own. Will there be adequate driveway space as your family grows, or enough parking if you entertain large groups?

We've included some other questions to ask yourself as you search for a lot. Remember, you will probably have to make a few compromises along the way, so rank your requirements in order of importance. We recommend making a list of the things that you have liked and disliked about other places you have lived and visited in the past. Once you have prepared a complete list of the most important attributes, you can begin checking out available lots!

Questions to answer before you purchase your lot

Is the lot large enough for the house you want?

There are often stumbling blocks or building code restrictions that limit the amount of lot space you can use for your house, and its precise location. Check with the local building department prior to purchase to determine what restrictions might be in place for the lots you're considering.

If your chosen house plan necessitates a particular side or location for the driveway or garage, you will need to determine how much space is needed for clearance and turning. Remember to allow for adequate space on that side.

Although you can submit a petition to the local zoning board for a change in variance, this can be a lengthy process. It can drag out the completion of your home, and communities often will not consent to any changes or modifications to the zoning restrictions for residential areas. So, it's very important to check with the developer or local zoning board for their requirements before you purchase the lot to avoid the hassle!

What is an easement?

Easements can be considered public or private, and they grant rights to persons other than the owner to access and use a property.

A private easement is limited to a specific individual, such as the owner of adjoining land who might need to cut through your land to put in their own driveway. A public easement is one that grants the right to a large group of individuals or to the public in general, such as the easement on public streets and highways.

Easements include:

Storm drain easements
Sanitary sewer easements
Electrical power easements
Telephone easements
Sidewalk easements
Driveway easements, also known as easement of access

Restrictive Easement

A restrictive easement is a condition placed on land by its owner or by government that in some way limits its use, usually regarding the types of structures allowed to be built there or what can be done with the ground itself. Restrictive easements are frequently placed on wetlands to prevent them from being destroyed by development.

If a lot has easement restrictions, they limit which areas of the property can be built on. This can confine your new home to a specific size, dimensions, and location on the lot. Therefore, it is advisable to check with the local zoning laws prior to purchase to determine if any easements or restrictions might apply to the lot you are considering.

Will the lot flood?

Check drainage after heavy rain and make sure the lot is not in a floodplain. A lot with standing water or a heavy flow of water during a rainstorm could lead to a wet basement and other problems down the road. Lots that are situated on low-lying areas adjacent to streams that periodically overflow may cause your property to flood. A landscape architect can suggest some solutions to address bad drainage or flooding concerns.

Can you use the sun effectively?

Check the direction of the sun. Where does it rise and where does it set? Orient your home to make the most of it! If you are an early riser, you might enjoy those early rays of sunshine beaming into your bedroom windows, or you might enjoy watching the sunset from a backyard deck. The side that gets southern exposure is ideal for growing plants and flowers. You might want to position the house so the garage and/or storage buildings can be on the north side. This keeps them in shadows most of the day and allows the living areas to receive more light.

You can also consider the direction of the wind. By positioning the house to shield outdoor living spaces from northwest winter winds, you can extend seasonal usage!

Keeping the above factors in mind will help you select the perfect lot for your new home.

So, now that you know what to look for, all you need to do is choose a style! See our information on Architectural Floor Plan Styles.

We also have a great deal of information on How to Read and Understand Blueprints.

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