Site & Location
Before buying a house which you intend to renovate, a section on which you plan to build or a house and land package, put some thought into the site of your new home. As they say in the real estate business, location is everything.
You may or may not already have a clear idea of where you want to live, but the best way to ensure you get exactly what you want location-wise is to make a list.
Decide what is non-negotiable and what you could compromise on if the rest of the package is good enough.
Who lives in the area?
- How many people live in the neighbourhood – will there be a lot of noise and traffic?
- What are house prices?
- Where are the best schools?
- What are commute times? Is public transport available?
- Is the crime rate low?
- What parks, restaurants, shopping and other lifestyle conveniences are nearby?
- Look at future infrastructure that will be undertaken over the next 10 years in your area. Are there any changes planned to zoning or infrastructure that would have a positive or negative impact on the area?
- Finally, take a drive around and make sure you like the feel of the neighbourhood.
Here are some basic questions to add to your list in the interests of purchasing a property that is safe and healthy for you and your family.
- Soil: Has the property been used in conjunction with hazardous waste? Are there pollutants that may not be apparent to an untrained observer?
- Land Stability: Is the property subject to landslides or sinkage?
- Drainage: Is the property located near a river? Are there hills or low spots which will make your home subject to water runoff or seasonal flooding?
If there is any concern over the stability of the site, you will need a geotech engineer to carry out testing. There may be limitations on building materials you can use for some sites – if the site has been built up with excavated material it may not be possible to use heavy materials such as concrete or brick in the house design.
If you are buying a section in a new subdivision, the developer will have an engineer’s report which you can ask to see. Any earthworks in built up areas must have an engineer’s certification of earthworks to ensure the land is suitable for residential development.
For older areas the LIM or council files may have some information on the stability of the ground (by montgomery). The Certificate of Title will have encumbrances placed on it if there is uncertified fill on the site.
Choose a sunny, sheltered site
Most wish lists would include privacy and a good view. To make sure your home will be comfortable, healthy and efficient to run, consider where your site is in relation to its surroundings and the sun, and how best to orient the design of your home.
An optimal building site for a warm, efficient home is:
- sunny and sheltered from prevailing winds, with the home on the sunniest part of the section
- free from objects that can shade the home now or in the future (bearing in mind that the sun is lower in winter) like trees, buildings or hills.
If you have questions about how best to locate your new home or extension so that it will be as comfortable and energy efficient as possible, speak to Right House. They can work with your architect, designer or builder to ensure you will end up with a home that is both energy efficient and works well for your needs and with your lifestyle.
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Find out what you can do to be Life Cycle Costing savvy in the articles linked below.