Lot Selection: 10 Factors to Consider

February 19, 2024

After selecting a community, homebuyers then facing the challenge of choosing a lot. We have some tips and factors to consider when making this important decision.

  1. Price: Not all lots are priced the same, even within a given subdivision. Price and value must be considered first in your lot selection process.
  2. Dimensions: You'll need to match your house with the lot you plan to build it on. The lot must be wide enough and deep enough to accommodate your floor plan and leave you a back yard to enjoy.
  3. Setbacks and easements: Be mindful of the city's required setbacks in the front, rear, and sides of the house. These can vary by municipality and zoning. You don't want a surprise when the building department tells you your house doesn't fit within the setbacks. Check to make sure your lot doesn't have any easements that would adversely affect the property.
  4. Orientation: The orientation of the lot in relation to the sun and its patterns is something people might not consider when buying their first home. A backyard facing west will be uncomfortably hot in the summer time, while a north facing front yard tends to get less sunlight in the winter to melt snow and ice. 
  5. Slope: Examine the grade of the lot and consider if retaining walls, fill dirt, or haul-off might be needed. Even the flattest looking lots can have more slope than you first realize. Foundations are set at a height to produce adequate slope away from your house  to prevent water intrusion into your crawl space. So be prepared for some amount of slope in your yard, especially on a small lot.
  6. View: Look for a lot that maximizes views of the mountains, open space, water features, etc. and minimizes views of your neighbor's house or unsightly objects.  Be aware of any transformer boxes or street lights in front of your lot.
  7. Utilities: Check to make sure your lot has utilities ( water, sewer, electrical, gas, internet...) stubbed to it. Don't assume that they are all there.
  8. Soils: Observe the soil conditions and watch for rock. Rock can hugely increase the cost of excavation. Poor draining soil with a lot of clay can be a drawback when you consider your yard and site drainage. 
  9. Fencing and landscaping: Consider any existing fence that already borders your lot. Estimate the cost of fencing the remainder of the lot and landscaping the yard. Big yards are great, but they are expensive and hard to maintain.
  10. CCRs and Restrictions: HOAs can be a good thing when it comes to upholding property values and keeping the neighborhood clean. But you need to know in advance what you will be required to do and what you are prohibited from doing with your house on a given lot before you buy it.
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