Choosing the right home site

Choosing a home site is as much a matter of personal preference as is choosing an architectural style or a floor plan. A nature lover might be captivated by a sloping lot with a boggy pond that would be unsuitable for a family with small children. A home owner with limited mobility might want an absolutely flat property, while a family with teenagers may just need enough flat space for a basketball net.

There are some basics in site selection, which are a matter of necessity and not personal preference. I can help you acquire the information you need to make a wise choice about your home site.

The municipality in which the home site is located will determine the local property tax, as well as the public services, schools, and utilities that are available. These can vary dramatically from town to town.

In general, remember that the home and amenities you plan to build must conform to the zoning requirements of the community. If a septic system will be required, a lot must pass a percolation “perc” test to ensure that drainage is adequate. If a private well is necessary, well water must meet health standards.


A sloped lot offers the possibility of walkout lower levels, interesting decking, and lovely views. Nature lovers often find great appeal in a living room deck at treetop level. Homes built on lots sloping to the back often appear quite small from the street, offering a delightful surprise as visitors come upon living spaces that expand to the rear and lower levels of the home. Lots sloping to the front offer an impressive setting for a house.

Flat lots are often the choice for growing families who want space to accommodate basketball courts, skateboarding and soccer nets. A retiree might prefer a flat home site with no stairs between the garage and house. Special features such as a swimming pool, stable and paddock, or tennis court require large, flat, well-drained areas and must meet specific zoning requirements.


As most homes in our communities face the street, the orientation of a home site has a significant influence on the design of the house. Orientation also influences energy utilization. Large lots outside of developed areas offer more flexibility in locating the home on the property to suit the preferences of the home owner.


A small piece of property is easier and less costly to maintain and generally offers the security of nearby neighbors. A larger lot provides privacy and space for family interests such as gardens or athletic courts. The size of the lot also influences the size of the house, with larger homes generally built on larger lots.


Most available land is located in less developed areas, as towns grow and new roads make commuting possible. Land generally becomes less expensive the further it is from developed areas and employment centers, allowing home owners to have more property and larger homes than they could afford in town.

With the shortage of buildable land in the greater metropolitan areas, home builders are increasingly turning to developed communities for building sites. Large properties are subdivided, or small rundown homes are torn down and a new home built. These lots have the advantages of having utilities already in place and are the ideal choice for those who want to live in an established community, but enjoy the advantages of a newly constructed home.

Each home site has its unique advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one will have a significant impact on a home’s appearance and comfort. I have the expertise to help a client choose the right home site or the home of their dreams.