Any floor plan can look beautiful, but if you don’t have a suitable building stand, you won’t be able to make your idea come to life. Even though some people design the home, then find a stand that will work; it may be a good idea to select your stand before you start planning the shape and size of your home, as the stand’s parameters could affect these factors considerably. If you want to keep your proposed building project on a budget, opt for a suitable and versatile stand beforehand.
Consider the following factors when choosing your dream building stand. Select the factors which you think are pertinent to your home building project and place your own priorities on them.
A suburban residential stand typically represents around 20-30% of the value of the completed package. Note that ocean front, or stands with other special views or features may be several times more expensive and can even cost more than the building itself in extreme instances.
You have heard all the real estate hype before . . . location, location, and location! Consider the proximity of schools, Relatives, Friends, Church, Work, Recreation facilities, Main Roads, Medical Facilities etc.
Usually, within the same neighborhood or residential estate, the larger the plot, the more valuable it will be. The size of stand you require generally depends on the type of house you intent to build. If you are planning to extend the house in future, make sure the site lends itself towards making this possible in a sensible way.
Try to avoid irregular shaped plots, if possible a square or rectangular shaped plot lends itself to easier planning. Optimum shape are more or less a 4:3 ratio. If considering a pan-handle, know that the pan-handle makes up a lot of the size of the total area of the plot and that this is generally un-usable and would cost generally more to pave (the driveway) than a regular plot. You may already know the dimensions of the home you are planning to build. Will it fit on the stand(s) you are considering?
Generally flat sites are easiest to build on, but one might choose a sloped site as it often is accompanied by great views, but keep in mind that sloping sites, no matter how steep will often call for professional help in the planning stages and it is also a lot more expensive to build on steep slopes!
When considering the topography of a stand, be sure to look for a ‘well drained’ lot with sufficient slope to allow storm water from adjacent surroundings to flow naturally off, rather than get collected on the site. ‘Low’ lying stands that collect storm water run-off create many problems!
Stand frontage is the length your stand adjacent to for example: a road, a golf course, the ocean, etc.
Some stands such as corner stands might have ‘multiple frontages’ and could be desirable if you would like to show off your home, whilst others would prefer a more secluded stand. Be sure to consider the amount of traffic on stands with more than one frontage.
Orientation & Views
North facing plots are very desirable in the Southern hemisphere as they get more sun, especially in the winter months when the sun is lower. Views or other advantages will influence a buyer to buy alternatively orientated sites, but never consider buying a western orientated site in the southern hemisphere – you will seriously regret it afterwards.
Mull over the possible accesses to the site, this often becomes a huge headache during building and even more so in many cases once you have moved in. If the property does not front on a public street, be very careful to make sure that access to the stand is sufficient and permanently guaranteed.
Active soils (soils such as clay that is subject to expansion) can seriously damage the structural integrity of your home if not build on proper foundations. Do a proper soil investigation before buying, or ask the developer/seller to provide you with a soil test. The cost of specialist structural design & building on un-suitable soil is surprisingly higher with the need for special excavations & foundations. It is best to avoid this type of condition if possible.
Trees are great, but some are more desirable than others. Generally people prefer trees that are maintenance-free as far as possible. Trees with expansive root systems can severely compromise the structural integrity of a house and tree types with dead limbs, thorns or prickly seed balls, etc. is also very undesirable. Take note of where the main trees are located when considering a wooded stand. Trees at suitable locations can be great for privacy or to provide shade. Trees standing where the home is to be built will have to be removed and they will have to be cut down and the stumps & roots dug up.
Consider how much, or little privacy is important to you. If you build in an area that has trees, the trees may give you added privacy and shade with no additional cost to you. It is hard to predict possible privacy issues if you build in a newly developed area where the neighboring stands are still vacant.
LOCAL MUNICIPALITY RESTRICTIONS
Be sure to take the front, side, and rear building lines (Setbacks) requirements into consideration. You can get this information from the zoning or building inspection department. Other restrictions may include registered servitudes on which no building is allowed, coverage limitations and floor space ratio requirements.
These are areas that can be expected to be flooded at some time during a given interval (50 year lines is typical). Sometimes a flood line can cut into a big portion of a stand and most municipalities will not permit for a property to be built over a flood line. Even if allowed, insurance for homes built in a flood plain may be exorbitant or unavailable.
Zoning is the method town planners use to prevent totally incompatible land uses from springing up next door to each other. Be aware when considering a residential property too close to areas zoned for commercial or industrial use as these could invade your area and your property could lose value if you are unable to have your property rezoned.
HOA IMPOSED RESTRICTIONS
Home owner associations within gated communities & estates may impose strict architectural guidelines and reviews, and a host of other things and you need to be aware of the rules affecting the stand before you make a final decision. Compliance to such restrictive parameters can be enforced by a HOA and are in addition to local municipal regulations. They may set minimum areas for homes, specific architectural styles, types of trees allowed or even how the boundaries should be treated.
In rare instances, special restrictive stipulations imposed by a previous owner of the local municipality may be drafted in the title deed of a property.