If you are thinking of building a house and you are not lucky enough to already own a suitable plot of land, it’s important to head into things well-prepared. You are facing one of the most important choices in the whole process: choosing the land on which to build your house.
Is it the first time you are embarking on the adventure of building a house? Then you probably have thousands of questions.
How do I choose the land on which to build my house?
Choosing a plot of land for your house means choosing the home base for your family. This is the place where you will spend the majority of your time. As you can imagine, no two plots are the same, so the questions you should ask yourself include:
What influences the choice of land when building a house?
What are the factors that make one plot of land better or worse than another?
Which of these factors should you look at when choosing a lot to build a house on?
Define the location
What is the first thing we think about when choosing a good piece of land to build a house? Exactly, its location. And the second thing? Of course, the price. Location is one of the most important factors, but not the only one. It’s also one of the most variable, as it’s 100% subjective.
Above all, whatever your preference, remember that you will always depend to some extent on public infrastructure. Take into account the proximity of public roads and the connection to general facilities and services. These include stores, pharmacies, hospitals, schools, cultural areas, and more.
It’s also a good idea to check with the town hall about possible/future urbanization plans or infrastructure in the surrounding area. This way you will avoid unexpected and often unpleasant surprises.
Look into the infrastructure and the accessibility of the land
The location of the land connects closely with its infrastructure and accessibility. Every day we live more and more connected to each other. Today, a home cannot be considered without also acknowledging the multitude of connections it has to basic infrastructure.
On the one hand, we are talking about basic facilities and supplies. For example, water, gas, and electricity. This also includes the services necessary to live in society. For example, the proximity to supply points such as stores, markets and supermarkets, healthcare, and leisure centers. On the other hand, we cannot forget about new technologies such as telephone and Internet services.
When choosing and buying a plot of land on which to build a house, we should pay special attention to the possibility of “connecting” with all these services. It’s advisable to make a consultation in the corresponding town hall about utilities that are accessible and even check with different supply companies about the services they provide in the area (electricity, telephone coverage, Internet).
Finally, it is also important to check the general accessibility of the plot in order to reduce costs. We are referring to the transport of machinery and construction materials, and to the presence of public transport nearby, which will facilitate life in your future home.
It is good to remember that when choosing land to buy it is advisable to avoid excessive proximity to certain infrastructures. Try not to buy land adjacent to high voltage lines, cell phone antennas, highways, railroads, landfills, sewage treatment plants, etc.
Consult the urban qualification of the land in the town hall
If you are willing to buy a plot of land or you have found one that you think suits your needs, you cannot forget to visit the town hall first. This is an essential step to knowing exactly what and how much you can build on the plot.
For example, the large size of a plot does not always mean that you can build a huge house on it. The buildability of the land determines what you can build. Buildability is a concept defined in the urban plan to which the land belongs. The value can be fixed by a number or by a percentage. That is to say, each plot has a maximum of square meters that can be legally built on. It’s important to note that it is not always proportional to the size of the plot.
Additionally, the land may be limited by some easement (of way, views, water, etc.) that grants some right on it to another person and that therefore imposes a limitation at the time of construction.
To find out all this information you will need time, as these consultations do not usually result in an immediate response. However, to get an idea of what you will be able to build, look at the buildings on neighboring plots. It is very likely that the urban qualification of your land is similar to the surrounding ones.
Study the shape, size, orientation, and slope of the land
The ideal shape would be a square or rectangular plot. It is preferable to avoid irregularly shaped or elongated land because of the difficulty that can occur when designing efficient housing.
It is easier to design a correctly oriented house on a rectangular or square plot, as there is more flexibility when arranging things.
Elongated or very narrow plots drastically reduce your options.
The best orientation for a house
The right size, however, is defined by your real needs. There is no standard perfect, ideal size. More important than the size of the plot is its urban conditions. We must take into account the buildability and the boundaries (inability to build next to the edges of the land) since with these constraints, it is possible that the “buildable” land is reduced quite a lot.
Finally, we must consider whether or not the slope plays an important role. If it isn’t too severe and does not hinder access, then the plot should be okay to purchase. While it is true that flat, horizontal plots offer more building options (and generally facilitate cheaper construction), sloping plots have other advantages. For example, advantages of sloping land include ease of water drainage, ease of building semi-buried spaces, and adequate sunlight to create a more energy-efficient home.
Compare the price of the land
Finally, we arrive at the issue of price. This is undoubtedly a very important factor. It will usually tip the balance towards one option or another. It is convenient to know how much the average square foot costs in your area in order to also know if the value of the land you are looking at is fair. To do this, a quick study of the supply in your area can help.
In general, the price of a plot of land usually reflects the characteristics we have mentioned above: location, infrastructure and accessibility, urban qualification, shape, size, orientation, slope, and geological characteristics.
As a last piece of advice, we recommend making a comparison if there are slight variations in price between one plot and another. Try to evaluate everything we have mentioned in this article. Sometimes you can achieve considerable increases in your future quality of life (and significant savings during construction) for a little more money upfront.
The conclusion we want to convey with this article is that the ideal land for you and your future home is the one that fits your needs. In addition, whenever possible, it is preferable to choose plots that, while within your economic constraints, also:
- Are situated in an accessible location.
- Have the necessary infrastructure and services (access to community water, sewage, electricity, etc.).
- Fulfill the urban qualification with acceptable building conditions according to your desired building.
- Have an appropriate shape and size that does not excessively limit future construction.
- Are adequately oriented.
- Do not have too many steep slopes. Ensure that “standard” and simple construction systems are accessible (otherwise can considerably increase the building budget).
- Have resistant and uniform ground. Try to avoid soft and problematic terrain as well as ground that is too hard, such as rock, in case you want to carry out excavations.