There are several considerations to keep in mind when planning where to build your new home on that dream piece of property you own. There’s one big thing to keep in mind, along with a few pitfalls to watch out for, as you start planning.
Think about where you’ll spend most of your time in your new home. Front porch? Back patio? In the living room looking out the windows? In the kitchen preparing meals for your family?
Wherever you’ll be spending your time, there’s a good chance that you want to enjoy the best views. Make sure your home design and the placement and orientation of your home will take advantage of all your land has to offer. If you have to modify the design, turn it a certain way, or even start from scratch, it will be worth the effort.
Get some wooden stakes, a hammer, and some string, and lay out the basics of your home. Mark the porch and patio. Figure out where the key windows will be. Spend some time with it, and make sure it gives you the feel you want.
How will you get from the main road to your new home? Over hill and dale? That’s OK—privacy is probably one of the reasons you bought that land in the first place. Just make sure you pick the path for the driveway that will be the least costly.
Whether your driveway will be packed dirt, gravel, or concrete, you’ll want to consider initial cost (think length and slopes) and upkeep (think best drainage and potential washout). Also make sure the connection to the road is in a place the city or county will allow. In many areas, you’ll be required to buy a permit for the approach where it connects from road to driveway and have it inspected.
There are a few reasons the slope of the land comes into play. The first is drainage—will it be easy to maintain water drainage away from the house? If the house is too close to the bottom of a slope, water will tend to run toward the house, and you’ll constantly be fighting the combination of gravity and water.
The second is the cost to move dirt—the more dirt you have to move to make a flat spot for the house, the more money you’re going to spend. That cost is multiplied if you have to haul dirt in or out. Buying dirt isn’t too expensive, but the freight charge for hauling it is very expensive.
The third concern is foundation support—if you have to build up an area with fill dirt, you might have to modify the foundation design so your house doesn’t move around or settle too much during its life. That might mean piers or extra grade beams, both of which can add thousands to the cost of construction.
These are just a few considerations to keep in mind. There can be many others, depending on the situation—location of the property, zoning, utilities, and more. Make sure you take into account as many as possible before you decide exactly where your new home will sit.
A home builder for 18 years, Tim is the "son" in Turner & Son Homes. He is the CEO of the company and partners with his dad, Ben, who has been building since 1964.
The current home on our property has been in existence for over 80 years. We love our property, and made our decision to build our new house there. Turner and Son was the first company we considered and we didn't have to look any further.
The Wells family
March 9, 2016