The best part about building a custom home is the actual customization. This home is going to be tailored to you, and only you. But of course, with great power comes great responsibility. We know that building a custom home from the dirt up, while liberating, can be an overwhelming undertaking as well. To help curb that anxiety we’ve put together a list of considerations to think about when taking that first step: selecting a lot for your custom home.
Set Your Priorities First
When you picture your dream home, what is most important to you? This is a very important question to pose to yourself before you begin this process. There is almost an endless number of different considerations to think about when choosing a lot, which is part of the reason this process may seem so daunting in the first place.
However, breaking down this process makes it a whole lot easier to tackle. So, ask yourself “What is most important to me?” If you’re an empty nester maybe quality of schools isn’t as big a concern. If you work from home maybe you don’t mind the commuter traffic in the morning. If you’re planning to utilize solar energy you may want a lot with plenty of exposure to the sun. Much of what makes something an important consideration depends entirely on the builder’s priorities.
The 5 considerations below are some of the most frequently named factors when clients ask themselves that all important question, “What’s most important to me?” Hopefully these will help you to create a better, more specific picture of your “must haves” and “can live withouts” when choosing a lot for your custom home.
San Antonio and its surrounding areas are growing. A quiet lot in the Hill Country isn’t likely to stay quiet very long. Which, depending on your priorities and needs, could be a good or a bad thing. Either way, you’ll want to do some research on the city or county’s development plans in the area which your desired lot is located. Plans for development could mean your dream of a quiet place to escape the city aren’t going to be a good fit in that particular lot. Alternatively, future development could be a big bump in resale value down the road. We’ll talk more about resale value later!
While it’s true that many people do work from home, the reality for the vast majority of us includes an average of 45 minutes to travel to and from work each day. The distance to work, grocery stores, schools, medical facilities, restaurants and shopping centers may be very important to you. If you use public transportation or bike to and from work, these factors may narrow down the number of lots that are a good fit for you pretty quickly. Alternatively, some people like a longer commute to disconnect from “work mode”, take in a favorite podcast or escape the city each day. Google Maps is a great tool for getting an estimate of what your commute will look like, but driving around the area during your regular commute times is a great marker as well.
Exposure & Utilities
Do you plan on using solar energy and is it available for use on the potential lot? What type of exposure to the elements exists on the lot? Are you factoring in the utility bill that comes with living in South Texas during the summer time? These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself when thinking about exposure and utilities in your custom home. Everything from wind direction and the location of utility lines to cell phone service and flood risk could play a vital role in whether or not the lot is a good fit for your home. There are certain risks some people are willing to take and others that may rule out a potential lot completely.
Zoning & Restrictions
Zoning rules and building restrictions can be tricky. It’s important to ask plenty of questions (specific questions) and always read the fine print. A lot zoned in an area specified for commercial use could have you building next door to the future site of a heavily trafficked grocery store or gas station. Even residentially zoned areas may have their limitations with building restrictions that allow for only one or two structures on the property. If it’s a historical neighborhood there may be even more restrictions you’ll want to make yourself familiar with. Remember, ask plenty of questions.
This is the one you’ve heard before. Everyone talks about how very important resale value is in the custom home building process. And they’re not wrong, however, as we’ve stated numerous times this is your custom home. Custom being the operative word there. If this is your forever home and you never want to move again, resale value may not be very important to you. If this is your first home and you think you may move soon, then go ahead and put this on the top of your list.
This process doesn’t have to be a scary one. It’s an exciting time, you’re getting ready to build the custom home of your dreams. With the combination of priority setting and utilization of resources (like this blog!) finding the perfect lot for your home can be a much simpler process than you think!