Choosing the Best Lot for Your Custom Home
Choosing where to build your custom home in Victoria is a very personal decision! After all, selecting the perfect space for your new house is the first step on the path to getting the home of your dreams. Maybe you want a small corner lot tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood, or you’d love space to sprawl out and add outbuildings and expansive backyard gardens. With a variety of geographical regions and features throughout Victoria and the surrounding areas, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to the property you select for your new home. Whether you choose a space set in the highlands or a low-maintenance lot in a hot new subdivision, your home’s location will be the first step in the custom home building process.
Beyond aesthetics and design, there are 8 key factors to consider when choosing the plot of land where you’d like to build your custom home.
8 Things to Look for When Choosing Where to Build Your Custom Home
At LIDA Construction, we have decades of experience building custom houses designed for specific neighbourhoods in and around Victoria BC. Coupled with your realtor, engineers and other industry professionals, we’ll go over your chosen location with a fine-toothed comb. That way, you can be certain the land you choose is the perfect fit for your dream home.
- The Shape of the Property
When looking at the shape of the property, we consider setback requirements, potential yard space, driveway positioning and the size of the home (among other things). You can take two lots with the exact same square footage, but if one lot is an odd shape, it won’t be nearly as buildable as the lot that is a standard shape. If you’d love a larger backyard, you’d need a lot with a footprint to accommodate that, without affecting your home’s square footage and floor plan.
- The Slope and Soil Type
The slope of the lot will affect whether water collects or drains effectively. Improper drainage can cause trouble with foundations, driveways, landscaping, wells and septic tanks. The grade also impacts the design of your home. Some lots are better suited to a walk-out basement rather than a slab foundation. Also, some types of soils move and expand more easily and may not be suitable for building. If you think you’ve found your ideal lot, a soil engineer can perform a test of the soil type and composition to make sure it’s ideal for your house plans.
- The Type of Neighbourhood
In some neighbourhoods, particularly in a well-established city like Victoria, gentrification may be in progress. This means that older homes or run-down neighbourhoods are being revitalized, often with a younger generation of owners. In these types of neighbourhoods, you may see one or two homes that haven’t yet been renovated. When choosing where to build your custom home, your best bet is to have your realtor pull comparables (comps). This will let you see the average sale price has been for the area and what changes have been made. It’s also helpful to meet the neighbours and ask their opinions. Sometimes a vacant lot on an older, established street that others have overlooked can be the perfect setting for your family’s new house.
- Zoning and Development Plans in the Surrounding Area
Take a good look around the area to see what types of developments are being planned. Is the zoning strictly residential or is it zoned for business as well? If a neighbourhood is zoned for a blend of business or industrial, you’ll know that there’s a potential for traffic and noise and multi-family housing as the area develops. Also, when choosing where to build your home, keep in mind whether there could be developments that affect your views and solitude. Will that adjacent undeveloped land become a busy mini mall or condos in the future?
- Closeness to Schools and Amenities
If you like to be within walking distance to schools, work and the grocery store, consider whether the lot is close enough to these areas. Convenience of location will mean you get the lifestyle you’re after. It also plays a major role in resale value.
- Available Utilities and Amenities
Consider whether the plot of land has access to utilities, municipal water, sewer, natural gas, high speed or fibre optic internet and cable. If a well and septic system were the only options for water and waste, would you be comfortable with having them maintained and tested? Whether you’re on or “off” the grid (even partially) will be a major deciding factor in where you build your home. Adding amenities to a lot will also add to building costs, so that’s something to keep in mind.
- The Direction Your Home Will Face
The direction your home faces will make a big impact on how well it is heated. This can affect everything from how your garden will grow, to how energy efficient your home can be and more. For instance, a home with southern exposure will get much more morning sun and be able to hold more warmth throughout the day, a quality of many passive houses.
Meanwhile, a home with northern exposure will typically be a bit darker and cooler. It can require more energy for heat and light and retain snow and ice at the front entry long after other areas are clear. If you’re building a water view or mountain view home, you’ll also want to have your main living areas properly situated to take full advantage of those spectacular vistas.
Consider the placement of streetlights and hydro poles as well as any other objects. Look at them from street level and from higher up, to see how they may affect curb appeal as well as your views from all levels and rooms of your home.
- Any Specific Building Restrictions
As well as zoning, some neighbourhoods may have restrictions. Depending on the restrictions in place, these can dictate the acceptable style and size of home, and what your property may be used for. In a new development, builders may only be permitted to build homes up to a certain height and square footage. This maintains the uniform look and feel of the development. If you run a home-based business or want to add a carriage home or in-law suite, you’ll also need to check with the city / municipality first.
The Experts at LIDA Construction Can Help You Choose Where to Build Your New Home
Choosing where to build your custom house is the key to the entire build. Whether you want your kids to be able to ride their bikes to the nearby neighbourhood park with their friends, or you want to retire in a quiet, secluded area, we can design and build your home to fit your chosen lot. At LIDA Construction, we’re experienced custom home builders here to help you make the best possible choice for your new house. Contact our Victoria, BC team at 778-440-5432 or reach out for an estimate today.