HOW TO BUILD A CUSTOM HOME, Part 3: How to Choose a Home Site

In this series, the professionals at the B.O.L.D. Company will take you through the process of building a custom home in the Greater Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky area. From plan and lot selection, to mortgage approval, to the actual construction, we’ll take you behind-the-scenes each week for an inside look at a different part of the process.

This week, we look at what goes into choosing a home site. While many of the factors that go into this decision will come down to personal choice (and, as always, budget) there are important factors to consider before choosing any home site.

Begin by answering each of the following questions. Then prioritize the answers by importance to you. For instance, is it more important to you to have a wooded lot or to have convenience to work?

  • Small or large lot? A small lot is generally less expensive to purchase upfront, and also less expensive and less time- and effort-consuming to maintain later. However, a small lot will not accommodate a large house or any extras – swimming pools, sheds, gardens. The size of the lot can also affect the perceived privacy of the home – neighbors are closer.
  • Remote or convenient? Privacy and tranquility can be benefits of a rural site. Convenience to school, work, and emergency services are benefits of a more urban site.
  • Wooded or open? Mature trees add value to your property, give your home character, add a measure of privacy, and provide shade which reduces utility costs. However, they also can drop a lot of leaves in the fall!
  • Sloped or flat? Homes on sloped lots are less likely to require the use of a sump pump to keep water away from the foundation. They also allow for features like a walk-out basement. However, if you intend to install a swimming pool or a basketball goal, you want at least part of the lot to be relatively flat. And sloped lots may require a retaining wall, which will quickly increase the cost of the project.

Once you have identified the basic features you are looking for in a lot, you must determine where to look for that type of lot. Consider:

  • School districts
  • Local taxes
  • Convenience to schools, work, shopping, health care, places of worship
  • Public services

After you narrow down your choices, be sure you consider the following before signing a contract:

  • SOILS Have a professional – your builder, an engineer, or a municipal authority – test the soils where you plan to build your home. Most homes are built on soils, not solid rock, but some soils are better suited than others to support a foundation. Even with poor soils, construction may proceed, but the costs will be higher.
  • WATER Study the flow of water on your lot and how the placement of your home might affect drainage. You don’t want to build in a flood plain and you want water to run away from your foundation.
  • UTILITIES What utilities are available? Will you spend additional money bringing utilities to your lot, or to your home on the lot?
  • ACCESS What will it cost to provide access to your home site? Will you have to allocate precious funds to a long driveway?
  • RESALE POTENTIAL Is the area likely to continue to grow or to stagnate? Is the lot on a busy road or a cul-de-sac? Is your lot one of the more expensive or less expensive lots in the immediate area? You don’t want your house to be just like every other house on the block, but you also don’t want it to be the most expensive house on the block when it comes time to sell.
  • HOA FEES Once you own property in a managed community, you will likely be responsible for yearly, or even monthly, fees. Are they affordable on an ongoing basis? Are they in line with the fees in similar nearby communities? What perks does the community provide in exchange for these fees – walking paths, swimming pools, fishing lakes, tennis courts, gate security, lawn maintenance?
  • EASEMENTS, SETBACK REQUIREMENTS, OTHER RESTRICTIONS Be sure you know what you are and are not allowed to do with the space, and that these restrictions do not interfere with your intended use.

The licensed real estate professionals at Bold Realty, a B.O.L.D. company, are ready to help you find that perfect home site in Northern Kentucky! We are also available to help you find and purchase a pre-existing home, or to list your home for sale. Contact us today, or check out Northern Kentucky Multiple Listing Service listings!


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