Location, Location, Location!
That’s a cliche. But it’s so true. Picking a location is not just about what town or what street, it’s also about what side of the street, how close to the corner, and a whole lot of other little details that make a big difference to your quality of life.
If you are buying a parcel in a subdivision, think hard about which one is the right one to buy.
If you are close to a corner, you will likely hear engines revving as cars and motorcycles accelerate from a stop or corner. Mid way along a section of road when cars are coasting is usually the quietest.
If you are close to a corner, think about where headlights will be coming from and where the bedrooms are located… Will headlights be shining in your bedroom all night? Will they swing across your house as people turn the corner?
Think about where the sun comes up and sets… Which way do the bedrooms face and are you OK with sunshine at 5:30am?
Are there any other sources of light that can be disturbing, such so streetlights, baseball diamonds, sports complexes, schools, or parking lots?
Sometimes I thought it would be nice to back into a wooded area. The privacy would be nice but there will likely be a lot more bugs in those lots.
Are you buying in a phase one? While that’s often a good tactic to have property values increase, you need to think about how traffic will increase on your street as future phases are opened. A quiet street now can become extremely busy in a couple of years.
Also consider if you want to have the sidewalk on your side. Many subdivisions only have sidewalks on one side of the street. If you have young kids it might be nice to have the sidewalk running on your side of the street. But in winter you have to keep the snow cleared, and if you have multiple vehicles it can mean you can’t park two deep on your driveway because you have to leave the sidewalk clear.
Where are the fire hydrants? The phone and cable boxes? The transformer boxes? Do you want them on your front yard?
Often inside corner lots where the road bends without an intersection offer a higher number of good aspects. Often they are considered premium lots with an extra cost because they are somewhat pie shaped and may have larger back yards. Corner lots, while appealing for their larger advertised size, don’t really have much more usable space and can have many of the downsides from above.
Chances are you won’t be able to find the perfect lot. But you can make some good decisions based on what you’re willing to trade off.
Also, if you are planning to buy in a subdivision that hasn’t been started and doesn’t have roads or services yet, many of these things you will not know in advance or be able to find out, such as which side the sidewalk will be on or where the streetlights and fire hydrants will be. If these things matter a lot to you, you may need to consider a different subdivision or waiting until the services are installed. While you may end up paying a bit more, you will get what you want. Or you can take a chance and hope that you don’t have large green steel boxes cluttering your front yard!
If you already own a lot or are building on a rural property, you should still consider things like orientation to the sun and traffic patterns, especially at night.