Once you have decided on the location and neighbourhood where you want to live, the next step is to identify the best lot for your new home. Some serial home builders know all the tricks and tips to find the best possible lot, but for a first build project there is a lot (pun intended) to think about, and it can feel overwhelming. Considerations at a high level include financial and legal aspects, local ordinances and permit limitations, property taxes and the price of lots or houses, especially relevant for tear down projects.
Working with a local realtor and driving or walking by to see what lots are for sale is your first practical step to building your custom home. Factors such as size, price and neighbouring house styles will then become deciding factors. Realtors have told us that for most families, it comes down to a choice between 1, 2 and sometimes 3 lots and working out what size house will fit on each lot is your next big decision.
Lot Check from Opoplan is an unlimited free service where you show us your lot on a map and our software instantly tells you what size house will fit that lot. Each Lot Check result is sent to you by email so you can compare as many lots as you like.
When you have identified a favourite street, remember to check East and West for sunrise and sunset and consider talking to older residents who can be a great source of local information and may often have insider knowledge about lots coming onto the market. Buying a house that you want to tear down and rebuild could turn out to be a nightmare if the neighbours are uncooperative. Starting into construction with obstructive neighbours could mean interruption to deliveries, delays to the build, visitors from the city permit office and lots of arguments.
In terms of where one should put the house on the lot, clearly the size of the lot dictates everything. On a small lot, the positioning of the house is inevitably similar to your neighbours and governed by setbacks, building lines and boundaries. With a bigger lot, you have more flexibility and along with that the need for more decisions to be made. At this point, Opoplan’s Design Brief and 3D preview can help with orientation and making the best use of your ground space.
As with most other things, getting the basics right at the beginning makes everything go more smoothly. Start by checking what size house will fit best on your preferred lot before you buy it and before you start planning the design and layout of your new home.