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Choosing The Site For Your Home

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 court.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage can help homebuyers identify the home site that is right for them.

The Basics

There are some basics in site selection, which are a matter of necessity and not personal preference. A Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage professional can help the homebuyer acquire the information they need to make a wise choice about their 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.

The Choices

  • The home and amenities that the homeowner intends 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.

The Topography

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.

The Orientation

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.

The Size

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.

The Location

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. 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. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage professionals have the expertise to help a client choose the right home site or the home of their dreams.

Looking at a Floor Plan

The floor plan, or how the rooms are arranged, is the most important aspect of the livability of a house. Insulation or central air or another bathroom can always be added, but if the basic floor plan doesn’t meet the homebuyer’s needs, they won’t enjoy the house as much as they should. Here’s a checklist to help remember what to consider when evaluating a floor plan.

The overall floor plan:

  • Are the living and sleeping areas separate and clearly defined?
  • Can you move from one room to another without moving through the middle of any room?
  • Is the kitchen adjacent to the dining room and other rooms in which meals might be served?
  • Is there direct access to the kitchen from the garage or back door?
  • Is there sufficient wall space for large pieces of furniture, such as beds, dressers, china closet and seating?


  • Does the homebuyer want the master bedroom on the first floor or second floor?
  • Does the floor plan lend itself to the kind of entertaining that is preferred?
  • Is the dining room large enough for holiday celebrations or dinner parties?
  • Is the powder room convenient for guests and children coming in and out?
  • Are the laundry facilities conveniently located?
  • Can children’s activities be supervised from the kitchen?
  • Does the homebuyer want a separate bedroom/bath suite for a nanny, aging parent or older child?
  • Is the kitchen large enough for everyone’s needs?
  • Is the kitchen laid out so work can be done efficiently?


  • Does the buyer see something appealing when entering into the house, such as a gracious staircase, a lovely view or a focal point, like a fireplace?
  • Can you see into any bathroom from a main living area?
  • Does the buyer want to be able to see the family room or the backyard from the kitchen?


Every household has a good deal of stuff that needs to be stored. Is there a place to put:

  • Linens and other upstairs items
  • Vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies
  • Out of season clothes
  • Books
  • Canned goods and dry food products
  • Recycling containers for cans, bottles, newspapers, etc.
  • Sports equipment such as bicycles, skateboards, golf clubs and athletic gear
  • Household tools such as a hammer, electric drill, screws and nails
  • Garden tools and hoses
  • Outside furniture and toys