9 Lot Factors to Consider (Other Than Size)
You’re building your new home – yay! How much thought have you put into the lot it’s going to sit on?
When it comes to your lot, there are many factors to consider, and we’re not just talking about the size of it. Just like your home’s interior, you need your lot to be functional. It’s about so much more than where it sits on which street.
- What Direction Do You Want to Face?
- Location in the Neighbourhood
- Quiet Versus Busy Streets
- A Sloped Lot
- A Flat Lot
- Walk-Out Lot
- Pie-Shaped Lots
- Corner Lots
- Extra Factors To Consider
You’ve put a lot of thought into your floor plan – the details, the finishings, the upgrades – so let’s look at similar factors for the lot you’re going to put your new home on.
1. What Direction Do You Want to Face?
The orientation of your house is a key factor when it comes to your lot selection.
Where it makes a big difference is the amount of sunlight you’ll get, and at what time of day. South-facing homes have the sun on the front as the focus. So if you’ve got a green thumb and want all that light on your front flower garden, this is the way to go. However, if your kids are going to be spending summer in the backyard, you probably want to look at a north-facing lot.
It’s Edmonton, so you’ll also want to think about snowmelt during the winter months – if the back of your home gets more light in the morning, it’s more likely that the front path will still be snowy and vice versa. The opposite is true for the warmer months – sunlight can also really heat up your home in the summer, so if the heat bothers you, a shaded lot would be a better fit.
2. Location in the Neighbourhood
You’ve found the perfect community, but where in that community do you want to be?
For a young family, living across the street from a school is an ideal location. The kids can walk to school and enjoy the playground on the weekends. However, if you’re a working professional, this probably won’t work for you. You don’t want to navigate your way through all that traffic in the mornings!
Many families love cul-de-sacs because they often have a larger backyard, giving the kids a safe place to play. They also happen to be tucked away from busy roads, so there’s much less traffic and noise.
For busy couples or homeowners who don’t have kids, take a look at a centrally located lot. Generally, these require less yard maintenance and provide faster access to main roads.
Many new communities also offer amenities within the area to be enjoyed by its residents. Parks, playgrounds, green spaces, ponds and water features, walking trails and more – find out what your community has to offer. Then look at lots that are close to the ones that are important to you.
3. Quiet Versus Busy Streets
The decision to live on a busy or a quiet street is also going to have a huge impact on your life in your dream home.
Some people will love being in a busy area, close to the amenities and street life, where they can meet their neighbours. A busy street is also more likely to have easier access to main roads for convenient commutes.
Of course, the trade-off to this is going to be a lot more foot traffic, which means busier streets, especially during rush hour, and more noise.
This is likely to be a deal-breaker for families with a newborn or those who value their peace and quiet. When hunting for your ideal lot, be sure to keep noise levels in mind. Try visiting the area at different times to see if there’s a difference – one street could be quiet during the day but noisier in the evening, for example.
4. A Sloped Lot
Building a home on a sloped lot will usually give you a fabulous view, and being up higher can give you a greater feeling of privacy. If you’re also near some green spaces you can get that rustic feel without being too far from modern conveniences.
You’ll want to consider accessibility with a sloped lot, however, as driveways can sometimes be steep. There could be some extra foundation costs for building the home on a slope, and you may find your back yard is up against a hill.
5. A Flat Lot
Alternatively, maybe you’re looking to build your home on a flat lot. This will naturally overcome most of the challenges associated with a sloped lot, but also presents some concerns of its own.
Aside from potentially sacrificing the view you’d get from a sloped lot, you’ll also need to think about drainage – on a flat lot, where will the water run to? It may not seem like a big deal when you’re viewing the house in the summer, but consider the spring months when all the snow is melting off.
6. Walk-Out Lot
A walk-out lot has a lot of advantages if you’re planning a renovated basement for your dream home. These lots offer quick access to your basement from the backyard, as well as the option to have full-sized windows in your basement, which adds a lot of warmth and natural light.
An added benefit? Walk-out lots are usually quite desirable, which means your home will have a higher value.
7. Pie-Shaped Lots
Common in cul-de-sacs, a pie-shaped lot is, as you might expect, a lot shaped like a pie slice! Typically these are narrower at the front and wider at the back, which is an excellent choice for anyone who values a larger backyard – it’s perfect for adding a shed, a deck or an entertaining area.
Pie-shaped lots are also great for privacy, as the lot shape generally means there’s more space between your home and your neighbours.
Once winter sets it, the narrower front of the home also means you’ll have less sidewalk to shovel. However, be aware that you will also be sacrificing a front yard, and if you have guests over there will be much less space for parking.
A pie-shaped lot is another type that is sought after, giving your home a higher value.
8. Corner Lots
Building on a corner lot is another good option for those who value privacy, as you’ll have fewer houses that look out onto yours.
You’ll also enjoy a lot more area for landscaping so gardeners will be happy with these lots, and your home will have great exposure and a lot of light. If done right, the landscaping can greatly increase your curb appeal for an easier sale if you do ever decide to move.
However, the one big factor with a corner lot will be sidewalk maintenance. This is a particular concern in Edmonton because when it snows you’ll be responsible for a lot of shovelling.
It’s also a good idea to visit a corner lot at a few different times of day before you decide to buy because street noise can be a concern. If one street on your corner gets especially busy at certain parts of the day, it can make a big difference to your enjoyment of your new dream home.
9. Extra Factors To Consider
There are a few other items you’ll think about:
- The lot is the one thing about your dream home you won’t be able to change – while you can renovate the house itself to your heart’s content if you have the resources, anything that annoys you about your lot is basically permanent, so you need to think very carefully about any compromises you’re willing to make.
- Ideally, you want to be living in your new home for a long time, so plan for the future. Nearby construction might be annoying right now, but in a year or two, it can mean closer amenities which will make your life more convenient and add a lot to the value of your home.
- Don’t neglect the details. Will there be any small inconveniences like a utility box, fire hydrant or a streetlight right outside your home? Many new neighbourhoods have a common area for mail pickup. Do you want one right outside your front door or are you okay with going farther to get your mail?
These things may not seem like a big deal when you’re excited about building your new home, but these minor irritations can add up over time.
The size of your lot isn’t as important as the amount of functional space and convenience it offers you and your family. Location is as important as the building itself, so be sure to ask your builder what lot options will best suit your needs.
Originally published Jun 28, 2017, updated Feb 25, 2020.