6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Lot

When building a new home, selecting the lot is one of the key decisions a buyer must make. Here are six things that builders and architects say buyers must consider before making their final choice:

1. Size. The larger the lot the more it costs. Consider initial price, taxes, and even lawn care. From a purely investment point of view, architect and land planner Quincy Johnson says pick the smaller lot in a neighborhood of larger ones. All things equal, houses on small lots tend to appreciate more rapidly than small houses on larger lots in the same subdivision.

2. Orientation. This can be a big deal for your energy bills. Facing the home in the correct way makes an enormous difference in heating and cooling costs.

3. Terrain. An uphill lot provides better drainage and displays the home more effectively. "Psychological studies have shown that people feel more secure when they look down at the street rather than up," says Johnson.

4. View. Make sure the buyer knows what he or she is really getting. When the area is completely developed, that stretch of meadow on the other side of the road may be a shopping center or a gas station.

5. Location. People who need to make a fast getaway in the morning should consider a lot near the entrance of their new community. Those with small children who are concerned about traffic should go for one toward the rear.

6. Shape. Sites come in many configurations – square, rectangular, irregular and pipe stem, or flag-shaped. Flag lots are increasingly popular near water or in a rural setting. But in a typical suburban location, they could mean sharing a driveway with one or more neighbors or the house could be sitting directly behind a neighbor’s house.

Source: United Feature Syndicate, Lew Sichelman (10/21/2007)