Choosing the best floor plan for your family, one that fits your needs and wants, and the style you prefer is a lot of work, but also very exciting. You're imagining your life in a new home, and as you envision your family in the walls of that floor plan, you know you're making the right choice.
Part of that choice, however, is ensuring your ideal new home both fits and is located on the right lot as well.
But how do you begin to choose a plot of land that's right for you?
Determine Your Priorities
A component of selecting a lot for your home is determining how you'll use it. Will you be outside often? Will you want to barbecue or garden? Will you be entertaining outdoors and want to create the perfect backyard setting?
If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", you'll want to look for a larger-sized lot, facing either west, south-west, or south. This will ensure you receive the maximum amount of sunlight during the summer months.
If you spend more time indoors and don't feel it's necessary to have an abundance of outdoor space, you can choose a lot that faces in any direction and isn't overly large. If maintenance is something you want to minimize, look at a smaller lot.
Choose Your Lot Type
Choosing your lot type depends mainly on your budget. Of course, the largest pie lots and walk-out lots will be the most expensive as they are in high demand. Pie lots in a cul-de-sac are definitely at the top of many families' lists as they offer a huge safety benefit for those with young children. However, by nature of design, the front yard tends to be quite small.
With a walk-out, even a partial one, there is more development needed, with the basement and the main floor deck if you choose. Something else to consider with a walk-out is the landscaping. Special considerations need to be made to ensure proper drainage, and you usually have a noticeable slope on either side of the home. There is often requirements on what type of fences are allowed with these lots to make sure not to obstruct views. This is something to think about when it comes to kids and pets. Most people feel the convenience and extra living space that comes with a walk-out lot is worth it.
Lot price is also dependent on other factors, like whether there are special features on the lot or if it's on a corner. Corner lots can be more expensive as well, because they come with the requirement of special architectural features on the side of your home. This requirement adds to the cost of the house itself.
While corner lots are popular, you do need to remember that a corner lot means more sidewalk to clear snow from in the winter. There is also more traffic as you're exposed to two streets, rather than one. But they also usually have a larger front yard, which is great news for those who love to have plenty of flowers in the spring and summer!
Know Your Limits
Despite these potential options, keep in mind that the size of the home you intend to build will have a minimum lot size requirement. There may also be restrictions, which depend on the community's developer, that won't allow you to build a smaller home on a very large lot, or a larger home on a lot considered "too small" for it.
For example, if a 1,400 square foot bungalow could fit on a 42' lot, you may not be allowed to build that same home on a large 70' lot, even though technically it does "fit". On the other hand, the home model you've chosen may not fit on a 42' lot, so you need to upsize to the 46' lot (or more).
Be sure to speak to both your home builder and the community developer to find out their restrictions before you start planning.
How Private Are You?
Depending on the type of lifestyle you lead, you will have two choices: a) to be in a more secluded area, or b) you may prefer to be part of the action in your community.
If you prefer a more secluded location, select a lot in a cul-de-sac or at the end of a community with no through traffic. This will minimize traffic noise and cuts down on the neighbours you will have. Avoid lots at the entrance of the community! Remember, if you choose a lot that backs onto the community pond or green space, know that you will have a lot of walking traffic while you're in the backyard.
If you're a social butterfly and prefer to be in the action, select a lot on the main road, or near shopping and other premium amenities your new community should have. Or go with an 'interior' lot, which means the front of your home faces the street and you're surrounded by neighbours, including in the back.
Slopes and Fences
Part of your homeowner's responsibility will be putting up the proper fencing around your lot. Different lots require different types of fencing. For example, if the rear of a lot is parallel to a walking path, the community guidelines may require you have wrought iron fencing. This can be pretty, but if you're hoping for more privacy, you'll want to choose a different lot.
Most communities should have a map indicating the fencing and landscape feature requirements, and your home builder can help you read it to make this easier for you to navigate.
Another factor to consider when looking at lots is the topography. Certain lots may have a slope that's steeper than you like, like the aforementioned walk-outs. If you have children or pets that head outdoors often, you'll probably want to find a lot that has more usable space.
You may want to choose a lot that backs onto a natural reserve if you prefer to live by greenspace. In many cases, the fence separating your lot from the natural area will be completed by the developer, so this is a cost you won't need to worry about. Plus, you will have a beautiful view from your backyard that won't be altered for a long period of time, if at all.
In addition, if you use public transportation, you'll want to select a lot with easy access to bus routes.
For someone who wants easy access to the backyard on a regular basis, going with a lot that has rear lane access could be the best option for you.
There are many things to consider when choosing your lot. To ensure your choice is the right one for you, make a list of all the living arrangements you prefer versus those that are deal breakers. If in doubt, consult with one of our qualified sales agents to help you choose the right plot of land for your brand new home.
Originally posted September 20, 2017, updated February 27, 2019.