In March we will be highlighting the topic of building on a narrow lot, and so we thought it was a good idea to begin by discussing the impact that a lot has on a homebuilding project.

There is no question that the first technical consideration when planning your custom home is going to be the lot your working with.  In the homebuilding business, we refer to the lot as the “field” because that’s where all the action takes place.

So how does your lot size and shape impact your options?  You can divide the impact of your lot into two categories: legal (zoning) and aesthetic.  From a zoning perspective, it is important that you build your home according to all the local rules for your locality.  There are many nightmare scenarios where a building project is done without first verifying the rules, and then the homeowner bears the cost of re-building a project to ensure compliance.  This is something that can always be avoided by working with a homebuilder who is prepared.

The other consideration, however, is going to be much more personal.  You want to build a home that is right for you and your family.  And if you are on a narrow lot, for example, this might mean that you should consider building upward (vertically) rather than outward.  Many of our clients have chosen this route which we refer to as a pop top addition.  It allows them to add square footage to their lot without increasing the footprint of the structure.  If you want to have a nice entertaining area that is outdoors, this is even more important, because you are necessarily going to have a smaller ‘field’ to work with.

If you have a large lot, you may have more options, but ultimately the final home design should be something that is perfect for your family, and so you should never feel pressure to build a bigger home simply for the sake of expanding the footprint of your home on the lot.

We look forward to digging into the topic of homebuilding on narrow lots more throughout this month, and we hope you enjoy reading our posts, and that you don’t hesitate to comment or tell us if you want us to address a specific aspect of this topic.