To build your own home is to have complete control over how it’ll turn out, as opposed to buying an existing property. It’s a dream for many people, especially those who want to escape from the city. Before you start building your home, though, you need to find the right land to build on. The last thing you need is to purchase any piece of land that you admired at first glance, only to discover underlying problems later. You need to do extensive research before making an important decision like buying land.
You’ll have to consider quite a few factors when you’re looking for land to build on. Some people get caught up in the beauty of the location and ignore zoning restrictions and the quality of the land itself. Others focus too much on compliance with regulations that they forget to look for a place they actually like and want to live.
To build your dream home, you need to find a balance between the two. If you’re looking for land to build a custom home in Ontario, you’ll be paying a premium, so you need to choose the best option for your needs. Here we’re going to explore what to look for to find the right land to build your next home and how to narrow down your options.
Before you even begin to consider buying a piece of land, you need to understand the nature of the land. Is it vulnerable to natural hazards? Is there a history of floods, hurricanes, forest fires, or other disasters occurring in the area?
You not only want to consider natural risks to your future home, but geographical features that may become a nuisance in the future. Steep slopes can be quite strenuous to walk over for older homeowners and may present a fall risk. Bodies of water are generally sought-after features to build near, but a smelly swamp can be off-putting.
You also have to check the soil. If you have a green thumb you will want to know if the soil is fertile for planting. What’s the point in buying a piece of land if you can’t enjoy a beautiful landscape and backyard?
Some soils like clay or dolomite are difficult to build on, leading to higher construction costs. You’ll need to take some soil samples and have them tested. If you encounter soil that makes it too difficult to lay the foundations of your home, no matter how great the location is, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.
The shape of the plot you are looking at matters too. Irregularly shaped plots may curve around hills, rock formations or other geographical features that can make it harder to build your custom home and make the most out of your yard space.
Something else to keep in mind is the possibility of future building projects around the land you’re eyeing. What if a mall or a multi-story department store is scheduled to start construction a year after you’ve bought the land? If you wanted to build a home somewhere quiet and private, having new building projects pop up nearby can be quite a nuisance. Many homeowners want to build a custom home to get away from traffic and construction. Noise and air pollution, as well as the loss of privacy, can ruin your new home if neighbouring plots are chosen for development.
Always check and make sure that the lands closest to you are residential so you’d avoid ending up next to a commercial plot, even if it was just a bar or a nightclub.
So, you’ve found a piece of land that ticks all the boxes. Before you go ahead and sign off on it, check the development restrictions in the area. Are there regulations in place concerning building heights? This would stop developers from building apartment buildings or complexes that could block your view.
How close do you want to be to neighbours? How tolerant are you of noisy neighbours? You should ask yourself these questions because you have the freedom to live close enough to neighbours or put some distance between you. Each choice has its pros and cons, and you should weigh them down before making a decision.
If you live close to others, it may feel safer and it would be nice to have people around you. This is also particularly helpful for homesteaders where you can exchange goods and crops with other homesteaders around you that may have something you don’t have.
On the other hand, if you put some distance between yourself and your neighbours, you have the liberty to live a bit more freely, and you don’t have to worry about noise or nuisance from other homes like unchained dogs or livestock breaking into your home.
Even more important than the distance from neighbours is the proximity to amenities. For starters, you should find land that is close to a source of water. This could be a natural source like wells, rivers, or lakes, and it could also be close to water mains. In any case, you need a source of both drinking and sewage water around you.
Access to an electrical grid also counts if you plan on connecting to the grid. It’s a different story if you want to live off the grid, or with your own independent power supply, but if you don’t want to go that far, then you need to find land close to power lines.
Then you need to consider other amenities. How close is the nearest hospital? If you have children, you’ll want to find land that is close to nearby schools to spare yourself and your kids’ long drives. Ask yourself if there’s an easily accessible road that you can use.
Before you buy land anywhere, you have to acquaint yourself with zoning laws and regulations in that area. Depending on where you move, you may find ordinances for anything from having pets to garbage removal.
Some local zoning regulations also govern how your property should look like. Does your house have to look a certain way or be painted in a particular colour in accordance with neighbourhood regulations? Check the building codes for the region you are surveying to find out what limitations you have if you find a plot of land that meets your needs. Some locations won’t even give building permits to residential homes, so you need to know that, before making any purchase.
Some unorganized territories — geographic regions that are not part of a municipality — may require special permits for constructing buildings or houses. Builders may have to acquire approvals from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. If your plot is near a highway in unorganized territory, you should also contact the Ministry of Transportation for permits.
If you’re looking for a piece of land with scenic views in a quiet location, you should consider the wildlife in the area first. How are the mosquitos there? What about large animals or endangered species? Have there been instances of wild animal attacks in the area? These issues may seem minor but they could be the difference between tranquillity and annoyance. However, if you are a nature lover, these elements may make some plots more favourable.
If you’re looking to buy the right piece of land for your future home, you need expert help from experienced custom home builders in Ontario like Grand Design Build. If you want to find land to buy in Ontario or explore your options for custom home building, call us at +1 (416) 990-3666 or fill out a form on this website. As custom home builders, we understand what makes a plot of land worth building on. We have helped hundreds of Ontarians build the homes of their dreams, and we can help you find the right land for your home and build it according to your specifications.