Choosing the right home site

The growing number of new entrants to the property market is putting the existing housing stock under strain – and prompting more people to consider building a new home instead of buying a pre-owned one.
This of course entails finding the right stand and, notes Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, position is critical in this as in every other property purchase.
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says that once the area or particular estate has been selected, however, buyers should also consider the following before buying:
* Avoid low-lying land where water will gather. Although there are construction techniques available to combat the risk of damp, the need for special materials will undoubtedly add to the cost of building in such areas.
* Avoid very steep slopes. The dream views they may provide seldom justify the additional excavation, piling and retention costs involved in building on such stands. Besides, an extensive outlook could quite possibly change in a few years’ time when other homes have been built and trees have grown on neighbouring properties.
* Consider the possible effects of future development in the surrounding area, and what neighbours will be allowed to build. A multi-storey apartment block next door, for example, might block a view, cut out the sun for much of the day, or remove much sought-after privacy – all factors that would reduce the value of your home.
* Check the local building regulations and homeowners’ association building guidelines to establish whether you will be allowed to build the size and type of home you want. Many estates these days have strict architectural constraints.
* Check the availability of water, sanitation and electricity for new homes and developments in the area with the local authority.
* Ask an architect, development consultant or knowledgeable and reputable builder to look at the stand you like and advise whether the home you want can be built there. There is no substitute for experienced help, particularly for a first-time owner-builder.
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