It’s a question we hear often at Foley: “Should I buy my lot first and then pick a plan, or choose a custom home design and then go in search of a lot?” The answer is, it depends. It’s a personal choice, but many people do choose a lot first. Since they’re custom designing their home, they can often adapt any plan to the lot. Whatever direction you choose, it’s important to consider your entire budget before making a choice. Land is the single largest item in any construction budget, typically making up one-quarter to one-half of your home’s overall price. As part of our custom home process, we recommend that homeowners meet with us to discuss design and budget considerations before embarking on a land search.
Build the Ideal Home for Your Lot
Lots and house plans fit together like a puzzle – if you try to fit a piece where it doesn’t belong, it’s going to ruin the entire picture. Finding a custom home lot in Northern VA isn’t difficult, unless you want to build in an area where few are available. Once you find the perfect lot, you’ll quickly realize there are a lot of factors that need to be considered before developing plans. Here are our three top tips for making sure you build the ideal home on your chosen lot.
Consider How the House Will Be Positioned on the Lot
Which direction your new home faces is an important design detail you should think about before starting to develop the plans. While the lot itself will likely dictate where you place the front door, it’s usually the sun that determines where other rooms will be built.
- Many designs favor more windows on the front of the house. A south facing home will get more hours of sunlight, which can mean lower heating bills in the winter. It’s also the ideal placement for installing solar panels. And don’t forget to think about how much sun you want coming into your bedroom windows.
- North facing homes have their own advantages, including less exterior wear and tear from long exposure to the sun.
Consider Lot Shape and Size
From a purely aesthetic point of view, the size and shape of your lot should determine the size and shape of your custom home, as well as where it will sit. For example, while wider lots can accommodate many different designs with large footprints, long and narrow lots are best suited to two-story or ranch-style homes. If the lot is small, think about whether you want a finished basement that adds livable square footage to the home. You’ll also need to check for easements and restrictions, as well as adhere to local zoning regulations.
Consider the View
Many people designing their custom dream home choose their lot for its beautiful views, so keep them in mind as you plan your layout. Place the rooms where you’ll spend the most time in positions that let you enjoy the nicest views. If your home will be located near a busy street, school, or shopping area, you might want to position bedrooms as far away from the noise as possible. If your lot is wooded or situated on a hillside, you’ll want to maximize the visibility of your natural surroundings.
One of the greatest benefits of designing a new custom home is getting to choose how you want to build on your lot. It allows you to express your individuality and creativity, while giving you and your family a space that perfectly fits your unique lifestyle. At Foley, we design custom homes that are best-suited for the lot they’ll be built on. Contact us today to discuss the location and size of your lot so we can help you determine the best approach to building your dream home. And if you haven’t found your lot, we can help you with that, too!