Cathryn Marino

How to Choose a Lot When Buying a New Home

In part 2 of this blog series, I encouraged you to “do your homework” by researching home builders before leaving a deposit or signing on the dotted line. All builders are different and you deserve to make an informed decision when buying a new home.

So, if you have done your homework and are ready to move forward – what’s next?

It’s time to choose your lot! This is one of the most critical decisions you will make when buying a new home. Before you set your heart on a specific model orlocation pic floorplan, it is a good idea to check out the available lots. You need to know that not all models can be built on all lots – builders have guidelines regarding easements, the home’s “footprint”, and how many of what types of homes they can build on any one street.

Sometimes it is difficult to picture the future landscape of a community during the initial building phase. With that, you will want to gather some information up front. Think about the following when driving around the community searching for your new home’s forever spot.

Home Placement

Depending on the model or floor-plan you choose, your home will be situated differently on any given lot. It is a good idea to have a couple of floor-plans in mind during your search. Ask the builder agent how the homes you like will be placed on the lot – it will give you a good idea about yard size, depth of driveway and how close your home will be to your neighbors’ house.

Direction of Home

This is especially important when living in Arizona. It is hot. Many buyers ask me to find them homes that are North-South facing. Your front porch, back patio, and most windows will be located on the front and back of the home. North-South facing homes offer more shade where you want it and can be less expensive to cool in the summer months.

Neighboring Homes

If you are buying a single story home, do you want to be surrounded by 2 stories? If lots around your home have been sold, the builder agent will know what models will be built on those home-sites.. If the lots have not been sold yet, ask what homes could be built on the surrounding lots. You won’t have as much control over this, but at least you won’t be surprised when you move in.

Perimeter Lots

If you like a lot that lies on the outside edge of the community, look and see what is behind it. If there is nothing built there, ask about current zoning or future plans for that area. Is there a shopping center? A multi-housing community? A natural preserve? A factory? The future value of your home could be affected by any of these factors.

Busy Streets

Living next to a busy street can be noisy and dangerous and can significantly affect resale value. Builders know this, so they offer these lots at a reduced price (which can be enticing, but not always the best choice).

Cul-de-Sacs

Homes in cul-de-sacs usually sit on larger lots and there may be a premium charge for one of these. These lots are also usually the first to go, so if living in a cul-de-sac is important to you, ask your agent about upcoming grand openings and brand new communities.

Utilities

Will local utility junction boxes or pedestals be located in your front (or back) yard? Does that matter to you?

Public Places

Consider whether you want to live right next to a school, park or community pool. This is a personal preference, but there will typically be more activity and noise near these locations.

Phases

Some communities are built in phases. This means that not all lots are released for sale right away. If you cannot find an available lot that suits you, ask the builder agent if they will be releasing other lots in the near future. You may have to wait some time, but the last thing you want to do is settle when it comes to lot selection.

If this sounds like all too much work for you, a good real estate agent experienced in new homes sales can guide you through this process, answer your questions and address any of your concerns. Informed decisions reduce buyer regret.

Keep in mind, that even if you expect to live in your new house “forever”, life happens and things change. In fact the majority of people move every 5 to 7 years. I advise all of my clients to consider resale value when buying a new home. Stay tuned for more on this topic…

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