Choosing land

If you are building a new home, consider these tips before buying a block of land. When selecting the site, there are a number of things to keep in mind to ensure you have the right block to suit the home you want to build.

Once you choose and buy your land, you are ready to move to the next step in the building process – planning your home.

Land availability & suitability

The first step is to go out and see how much land is currently available, where it is located and at what price. Some options include land in a new estate, regional acreage, demolishing an existing dwelling and using the land, building on land that has been subdivided, or just generally finding land that has remained vacant.

It is also important to make sure the land you purchase is compatible with your home design, with the size, the shape, orientation, slope and soil type all points you need to consider.

Every site is different and it is not financially logical to do a soil test on every block of land you consider purchasing, so consult adjoining property owners or local builders. When you have decided on the land you feel is right for you, then obtain a soil report.

Services & facilities

Some of the things to think about when choosing your block are the availability of power, water and sewerage, storm water easements, and soil conditions. These can all substantially add to the cost of building.

If you are looking at acreage, don’t forget the costs associated with installing a household sewerage treatment plant, power lines, water tanks, telephone and internet connection, and access roads. Steep blocks or sites with difficult access all have challenges that will cost you more money. There are also possible additional costs if you’re building a considerable distance from the property alignment.

Once you have narrowed down the options on your land, talk to the local authority planning branch to check flood levels, landslip, buffer zones and other easements. Remember, talk to some industry experts and do your homework; the more research you do, the fewer surprises you will have when you start building.

Lifestyle & neighbours

A good starting point, not just for the selection of land but also for the design of your home, is to decide (taking into account the size of your bank balance) what lifestyle you’re aiming at. Different neighbourhoods provide different opportunities to achieve the lifestyle you’re looking for. Choose one you believe will suit the needs of you and your family.

When inspecting land, consider the age and lifestyle of those living in the area. Make sure you have a lot in common with your potential neighbours. Is the neighbourhood relatively quiet? Does it offer you a lot of variety? If you’re seeking privacy, is the area one where you can live a comfortable distance from your nearest neighbour? If you need them, how close are shops, public transport and schools?