Traverse City Record-Eagle

Real Estate News

May 16, 2012

Tips for Selecting Where to Build Your New Home

Syndicated — Great home design always starts with the site - a truly special home is never designed first, then placed on the property.

How do you evaluate a site for your house? How do you find the right part of the site to build on?

Start with the four "S's" - Slope, Sun, Soil, and Sewer.

A house and site working together with great results.

Slope

The slope of the property can have a big effect on the cost of your project - a house placed on a slope will most definitely cost more to build than a house on a flat lot.

Does your house have to be placed on the slope?

Perhaps it can be placed at the top or bottom - taking advantage of the views from the slope but not incurring the costs of building there.

Many owners of sloping lots want to take advantage of that situation by including a "walk-out" basement in the design. It's one way to increase the space in your house for a relatively small cost. The steepness of the slope will partly determine how much excavation and/or fill is necessary to create the walkout.

Homes on sloped lots often require more (read: costly) gravel backfill material at the foundation; they might need expensive retaining walls to create a flat area for a driveway or hold back soil at the walk-out; and they usually have a full basement - whether you want it or not.

Here's the bottom line - carefully analyze (with the help of your design professional) the impact that your sloped lot may have on your design; design a house that's appropriate for the lot without unreasonably expensive construction techniques.

A room built for light. Note how deeply into the room sunlight reaches.

Sun

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