New Construction: Choosing your Subdivision, Lot and Floor Plan
Nothing really compares to the home that’s been built just for you and your family. At SAB Homes, we want new construction be an exciting experience and we want to keep it as stress-free as possible. Here are some factors to consider before you begin the building process. These are the big three factors that you won’t be able to change once you have started building. Next, you will address other decision, like interior selections.
Choose your Subdivision
Naturally, your first step is to narrow down which part of Kansas City suits you and your family best. SAB Homes builds in Missouri and Kansas, from Overland Park to Lee’s Summit, so you will have plenty of choices. When choosing your subdivision, it’s really important to look at the bigger picture. Years after your home is built, many variables are going to affect your overall satisfaction with your home, but none are more important than location. Will the location help your re-sale value years down the road? Possibly the second most important factor would be quality schools. Even if you don’t have children who will be attending, quality schools is a huge factor in determining home values. Of course, consider the more obvious things like proximity to work, school, shopping and restaurants. If you commute to work, try out the drive at the time you would be heading to work.
Also try to get as much information as possible about the area. Does the subdivision plan to build 9 plats or just one or two? You may be close to convenient roads, but are your so close you can hear them? The beautiful trees you see today just might get cut down to build a neighboring retail outlet.
What about the Homeowner’s Association? How much are the annual dues? What amenities are available or planned in the future. Since you will be paying for said amenities, are they things you will actually use? What about taxes. Be sure to find out the tax rate and compare the subdivision you are considering.
Ask your realtor to provide the Convenants and Restrictions for subdivisions. Requirements like taking down your Christmas lights by Feb. 30 or bringing your pets inside by 10 pm might be listed. Do the requirements meet with your lifestyle? Keep in mind that a neighborhood with good restrictions is usually a better investment than a neighborhood with few or no restrictions.
Lastly, visit the subdivision. Drive down the streets and really think about what you see. Are the homes well maintained? Can you picture yourself living there, your kids playing there? If possible, ask someone what they think about their neighborhood.
Choose your Floor Plan
Notice that choosing your floor plan is mentioned before choosing the lot. We really won’t know if your home will fit on the lot until you decide on a floor plan.
Start by assessing how you use your current home. What aspects would you like to change and how? Think about how long you plan to stay in the home and how many people will live there. Is your family still growing or will your kids be moving out soon? Is a two-story the perfect home or do you prefer a ranch reverse. Do you really need a formal dining room? Is there a home office? Is there enough storage? How many bathrooms do you really need? How many garage spaces do you want. Where is the laundry room located? Does the home have the right amount of windows to suit your taste? All in all, try not to get too caught up in far into the future needs, and put more weight on how you live right now.
When you walk through a model home, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the amenities and not notice the spaces on their own. Try to evaluate each space. Will your furniture fit? If you entertain, imagine spaces filled with family and friends. How will you enter the home, where will you put your coat or groceries? Is the floor plan child-friendly? Would this floor plan be suitable for older family who may visit?
And lastly, more is not always better. If you really assess how you will live in your future home and what you need, you may begin to find some things are not truly necessary and may end up not being used. Be sure you are budgeting for what is truly important and things you will really use. Bring your whole family and involve everyone in the selection process.
Time to Choose a Lot
There are so many factors to consider when choosing your lot, yet many are difficult to imagine. Be sure to meet with SAB Homes and walk the lots you are considering. Will your chosen floorplan fit the lot?
Do you prefer a walk-out basement, daylight basement or a flat lot? Remember that the basement preference will also affect your outdoor space. Choosing a walk-out basement may require a deck, yet a daylight basement would lend itself to a patio. A walk-out lot also means some degree of slope, which could it make it more difficult to mow.
Personal preference is a big determining factor here. If you have young children, you might choose a cul-de-sac. Cul-de-sac lots are typically much wider in the back yard and much narrower at the street. This could make your yard perfect for a pool or an extensive garden and play area.
Corner lots are typically larger and also more expensive. Being at the intersection of two streets means you will have traffic on two sides instead of just one. And when it snows, you’ll have a lot of sidewalks to clear. On the positive side, corner lots allow a side-entry garage. They also bring higher visibility to a home, so you’ll need a design with street appeal on two sides instead of just the facade.
Consider how your home will fit on the lot. Your lot’s relationship to the sun will play a major role in how your new home lives. With a southern exposure for the mass of windows at the rear of the home, a house benefits from solar rays during most of the day. An eastern exposure takes advantage of morning sun, while a western exposure captures the afternoon sun. Beware that western or southern exposures can make a backyard porch or deck too hot to enjoy. Alternatively, remember that your front steps and driveway can be constant trouble in the winter if they do not have a southern or western exposure to help melt ice and snow.
If you’re a gardener, consider the amount of sunlight in your backyard gardens. If you want showy landscaping at the front of your home, make sure it gets enough sun. Corner lots often provide a large side yard in addition to a front and back yard and can offer more flexibility for growing plants.
After you have taken all the characteristics of the lot itself into consideration, think about the location of the lot within the subdivision. Lots near the entrance are going to have different traffic patterns than ones tucked into a cul-de-sac within the subdivision. If you choose a site near the community pool, you may have children cutting through your back yard regularly or experience higher noise levels on a mid-summer’s day. Cul-de-sacs may not be the best choice for an empty nester, who may have to avoid bikes and children regularly.
What Happens Next
Well, after you have made these important choices, we get down to all the selections and design details. And that’s a topic all of it’s own.
Other Articles in this Series
The Homebuilding Timeline: When can we move in?
Selections: Finding your style for your new construction home