When planning your new home, choosing the right location is just as important as designing the ideal structure. Mike Shetler begins his custom home-building process with this in mind, and starts each project by first helping his clients evaluate potential building lots to ensure that their dream home facilitates their lifestyle, preferences, and needs. Below are five of the most important guidelines Mike uses to help clients select the appropriate lot.
1. Investigate the Area
You can begin by utilizing technology like Google Street View, which will allow you to see the “big picture” as far as the neighborhood’s design and road networks. But when it comes to a bird’s-eye view, Mike offers a more personalized – and niftier – option; he’ll hover over your lot with his radio-controlled, camera-equipped Phantom DJ1 helicopter. With this unique capability, Mike will give you that “big picture” while simultaneously drawing digital images of your dream home over the aerial photographs. However, nothing replaces the act of seeing, touching, smelling, and hearing the area in person. Take time to drive and walk the streets at different hours of the day. Maybe set up a couple of lawn chairs on the vacant lot to watch the sunset. In short, really get to know the area before you decide to live in it. You don’t want to buy a lot in a subdivision that appears to be calm and quiet – only to discover that a local garage band practices in the house next door.
2. Research Land Use and Development
Do you prefer pastoral views, bustling city centers, or something in between? Think up front about the type of location you dream of living in, and do your homework to ensure you purchase a lot with those characteristics. Your city’s planning and zoning departments can inform you about current and future development in the areas surrounding your lot. Also, be aware that new subdivisions might be under development for years. Building the first home in such areas might feel like a novelty, but who wants to raise their children amidst the dust, traffic and noise of a construction site?
3. Understand Land Values
Building a new home is a huge investment, so be smart – invest in an area with high value. Communities with good schools, quality parks and recreation facilities, and solid infrastructure will not only increase your home’s resale value, but also increase your family’s quality of life. Keep your budget in mind, though – sky-high real-estate taxes could be a deal breaker.
4. Keep Personal Preferences in Mind
It’s good to have a basic idea of the size, shape, and other characteristics of your desired home before you select a lot. For instance, if you want a backyard pool or garden, a wedge-shaped lot with extra space in back might be best; or if a side-load garage is a must-have, you’ll likely need a corner lot. Keep your preferences in mind as you narrow down your options. However, if you find a lot that you absolutely love, Mike Shetler can design your home around your lot shape and size.
5. Check Property Conditions
Don’t wait until construction crews break ground to discover property problems. Has the soil been contaminated by hazardous waste? If the lot is near a waterway, will your home suffer from water runoff? How much will bedrock increase your construction costs? Asking such questions early could prevent a dream home from turning into a nightmare.
Although Mike Shetler is an expert at designing custom homes – his Parade of Homes titles alone attest to that – his chances of turning your dream home into a reality will increase exponentially if you think carefully about your ideal home-site, and choose a lot that is best for you.