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For residential real estate and particularly custom homes, the lot on which a home is built is often as important as the building itself. 

The 5 Considerations for Choosing a Perfect Lot

“In general, a custom home is larger, and this requires a larger lot,” Michelle Grove-Reiland, real estate broker, said. “Plus, the lot must be conducive to the design of the home. For example, if the homeowner wants to be able to walk out to a lower level, this would require a slope that would accommodate this.

“An additional consideration for choosing a lot is the type of soil that is underneath its foundation. If the property has a high water level and the homeowner wants a walk-out lower level, this may not be possible. It may require a crawl-space because of the high water level.

“Another factor to consider when choosing a lot for a custom home involves the orientation of the home on the lot. Does the position of the home on the lot afford the homeowner the view corridors that he or she is looking for?

“Finally, a critical consideration involves any architectural committee design guidelines or covenants that restrict where one might build on a lot. There may also be city ordinances that prevent a homeowner from building the type of structure they want. These are critical questions to answer before buying a lot for a custom home.

Soil Composition and Brick Construction

“Obviously, the foundation must take into account the weight of the brick,” home design specialist, Kim Cieplik, said. “Brick homes are sturdier and therefore heavier, than those made of wood or synthetic materials, but we simply engineer the foundation in a manner that will support a brick home.

Many home buyers are now considering their backyard and outdoor spaces when building a home and brick fits the criteria many are searching for when designing their outdoor entertainment areas, such as outdoor kitchens, expansive patios, and pools.

Before Buying a Lot

While it may not be as much fun as choosing the style of the interior brick of a new kitchen, due diligence in the evaluation of a lot is crucial.

Before purchasing a lot, the prospective homeowner should do a “soils report.” Most sellers will allow for a soil contingency in the contract.

In some parts of the U.S., there are many hill sites, and these are considered ‘geo-hazard’ areas. When these areas get wet, there can be a slumping of the ground and this affects building construction. Many cities are mandating such tests as “slope analysis” and this can range in cost from $10,000 to $15,000.

The Cost and Availability of Land for Homes Vary

“Typically, custom homeowners are looking for at least one-half acre or larger for their lot. The trend among custom home buyers is for larger (greater than one acre) lots. I believe this is the result of people wanting to change their lifestyle to one with more privacy and less noise." Grove-Reiland said.

In terms of the cost for this type of lot, a good rule-of-thumb is that the cost of the lot should not exceed 20 percent of the total budget. This is dictated by mortgage companies or other lenders. If, however, a homeowner is paying full cash, there is no restriction on the price of the lot.

A Lot’s Size Versus Square Footage of a Home?

“There is no real standard for size of the lot size based on square footage of the home,” Cieplik said. “If a client wants us to build a 17,000 square foot home, we take into consideration the covenants and other requirements, such as a homeowner’s association, and recommend the appropriate lot size. As we have noted earlier, our lot sizes typically run from one-half acre to five acres, and we have recently built a beautiful home on 40 acres!” 

“Over time, the availability of land – which is constantly being reduced – will dictate the size of the homes that can be built. However, custom home buyers want large lots for their back and front yards and for entertaining. They love nature and they want to have that view of the mountains or the trees.”

If you are considering building a custom home, don’t forget to research the size and expense of the lot. For information on building with brick, contact Acme Brick.