Finding The Right Block Of Land To Develop
Once you have made the decision to build a new home, and calculated how much you can borrow for your home loan, the next decision any future homeowner needs to make is what block of land will suit their needs and house design.
While the budget will guide your choice, many other features of the block of land you purchase will influence the type of home you can build.
If you are ready to go in search of your land to build your dream home, keep reading!
There are so many options for finding your block of land – new housing estates, regional areas offering acreage, vacant inner-city subdivided lots, or finding an existing house to demolish using SiteFinder – all are objects for finding your parcel of land.
Land Size and Shape
House lots come in all sizes, some more amenable to building a new home and others not.
When deciding on the size of your parcel of land, consider not only what size house you want to build, but also the street frontage, car garage space and council regulations for boundary setbacks.
Your builder, architect or town planner is best equipped to guide you on new housing development requirements.
While the location of the housing estate you purchase your new home is an important consideration, just as important is the position of the block of land within the estate.
The position of your block of land can greatly affect your lifestyle and impact your choice of home.
- Homes close to the entrance of an estate mean more traffic
- Housing blocks situated in cul-de-sacs and courts which are not thoroughfares make great family choices and offer a wonderful sense of community.
- Will your choice result in “headlighting”, the annoying action of car lights sweeping across windows as they pass? This can be an issue for properties situated at the end of a court and t-sections.
- Land values are greater for parcels of land that adjoin parklands or offer a view. Similarly, blocks on the higher side of a street and in cul-de-sacs and courts are usually sold at higher prices.
Blocks of land with a significant slope can significantly add to your building cost compared to level blocks.
To rectify the problem of a sloping block, and depending on the angle of the slope, either the land will need to be cut and filled, or you’ll need to build a house that takes that slope into account.
There are many issues to consider, not just the slope itself, but also the access to sunlight and any potential bushfire issues.
The way that a house is positioned affects your lifestyle and also factors such as energy efficiency, with increased and heating and cooling for sun-drenched homes that attract limited breezes.
Find a block that allows you to build to suit climate conditions, and make better use of natural sun paths and breezeways.
Also think about potential configurations that will allow for lifestyle zones, such as patios and courtyards at the back of the home, rather than the front facing roadways. And consider how existing trees and buildings can be incorporated for shading.
Ensure your contract to purchase land is subject to a soil test.
This test will determine the composition and reactivity, or likelihood of movement, of the soil.
The more reactive a soil, the more expensive it will be to build because a specially engineered slab or additional controls and measures like special deep pilings will be needed to ensure the house doesn’t move with the soil.
Clearly, differences in soil type can end up costing thousands during the building process. If you fail to address the issue during the building process, unworkable soil can lead to costly foundation issues later down the track and instability with your home’s foundation.
It is also a good idea to investigate what the land was used for before it became a residential property development. Was it farmland? Industrial? Dig deeper to be sure you are not buying into land loaded with harmful chemicals that could impact not just on your building potential, but also on your family’s health.
Once you’ve settled on a particular block, check out the neighbouring properties – are they well maintained? Are there any privacy issues? What can the neighbours see from their block?
Different neighbourhoods provide different opportunities to achieve the lifestyle you’re looking for. Choose the one you believe will suit the needs of you and your family.
When inspecting land, consider the age and lifestyle of those living in the area.
- Do you have a lot in common with your potential neighbours?
- Is the neighbourhood relatively quiet?
- Does it offer you a lot of variety?
- If you need them, how close are shops, public transport and schools?
- Is the block of land too close to noisy industrial sites?
Take the time to inspect the area at various times, including weekdays and weekends, to see how it changes.
Just like the neighbours, consider the potential growth of the area and what developments are planned.
If there is vacant land next door, research any building proposals. Check with your local council to see what building developments are in the works and consider how this may affect your planned new home site.
A larger vacant block is indicative of a planned high-density development.
Also, consider the closeness of neighbouring property. If you like privacy, are you comfortable with the distance?
Essential Services and Connections
When choosing a block of land always ask about the availability of essential services and utilities. Services such as power, water and sewerage, natural gas, telephone lines and broadband internet may not be connected to the land. The cost of these services connections is the land-owners responsibility, and this can be expensive especially for sloping blocks or non-standard connections.
Even if the land developer tells you utilities and essential services such as telephone, cable, electricity and water are connected, make your own inquiries.
Contact the utility companies to confirm and also get a quote for installing services, or make sure the installation of basic services and utilities are included in the contract for sale.
The location to amenities is so important for new suburban property developments. You don’t want to be too far from facilities such as shops, parks, schools and public transport, but when it comes to infrastructure – freeways, for example – you also don’t want to be too close.
If major facilities are not yet available, research where and when they will be constructed and remember that not all proposals may be completed as planned.
Due diligence does not just mean making sure you are paying a fair market price for your block of land.
It includes reviewing town planning restrictions about what can be built on your parcel of land, and especially if there are any building restrictions that will affect your future enjoyment of your home, such as easements or covenants.
Access this information instantly with SiteFinders Site Reports. All you have to do is enter the property address and you have an easy to understand property report complete with the complete specs of the property as well as what you can build and what restrictions you’d have to be wary of.
Planning and building
When you are buying a block of land, always be mindful of any covenants set by the land developer, particularly in newer estates. Builders can advise on complying with covenants but it’s really up to the homeowner to understand them.
Different councils can have very different rules which can limit how your building. Depending on the council, there may be rules about what style of house you can build, what colours and materials are appropriate, where on the plot you can situate your house and even what kind of fence you can have (among other things).
Also, expect resistance from existing neighbours! If you’re pulling down an existing house to build afresh (or planning big renovations), there’s every chance that they’ll object for any number of reasons.
Your local council will have information on local restrictions, heritage overlays or other circumstances that may limit what you can build. Different councils also have different rules about the circumstances that require you to notify neighbours about plans to build. Find out what these are for your property by accessing your property report on SiteFinder.
State of existing structures — planning on retaining parts of an existing building or structure? You’ll need to get it inspected to ensure it’s in good shape.
Consider the Future
Always be mindful of any future additions you may want to make to your property like a pool or an extension. These should be discussed early on with your builder and factored into the building process and lot configuration.
Remember, talk to some industry experts and do your homework; the more research you do, the fewer surprises you will have when you start building.
With SiteFinder you can avoid unwanted surprises when finding the right block of land to develop.