Your home has a profound influence on your health and spiritual state of being. Harmony and balance, light and color, relationship to landscape, energy efficiency and geometric form are all very important elements in building your home. When you employ principles of universal harmony, your home can sustain, rather than drain you, and your workplace can boost your creativity.
The sustainability of your home depends a lot on its location. When you’re looking to buy land to build a house, chose a lot that is close to your workplace, schools, shops, parks and public services that your family uses regularly. This will save you gas, money and driving time, which in turn will reduce the stress level. It is better to choose a property that has other structures, which can be renovated and reused, or demolished, and the materials – recycled. In all cases, avoid buying property on a known earthquake fault or on a coastal zone that’s susceptible to erosion, or in a tsunami zone. It is also not a good idea to choose a place, that has never been developed before or contains sensitive habitat, endangered species, wetlands and prime agricultural land. Keep in mind that if the land consists of steep slopes, it would need to be substantially graded to enable development of the site, which can cause soil erosion and increased stormwater runoff, which in turn may lead to water pollution, flooding and mudslides.
Choose the land, according to the style of the home you want to build. For example, if your heart is set on a Spanish style home, a heavily forested lot may not make sense to you. The architectural style you prefer will determine the size and characteristics of the building site. Remember that you can always design a your home to suit a landscape, but you cannot alter the landscape to accommodate the specifications predetermined house plans. Many design elements, like the configuration of rooms, the placement of windows, the location of the driveway, will be affected by the land you choose to build on. On the other hand, a lot of truly amazing homes have been inspired by the land itself.
Once you have located a potential building site for your new home, you need to spend some time there, at different times of the day. Consider what are the general characteristics of the land. Does it suggest any particular colors and materials you should include in the construction of your home? What architectural style will suit the place? Will this style fit the overall context of the neighborhood? Should the house face the road or away from it? Which views would you like to see from the living areas, kitchen, bedrooms?
Seek professionals, who can investigate the characteristics of the land, explore zoning, building codes and other major factors, and give you an expert advice. You will need to know if there are pollutants, which may not be apparent to the untrained observer, if the property is a subject to land slides or sinkages or how disruptive will be the noise, if there are a bearby airport, highway or railroad. The zoning regulations will indicate what will be legally constructed in the surrounding area, so you will know whether in five years your beautiful views will be replaced by a highway or a housing development. The building codes and regulations will specify how close you can build to the property line, roads, streams and lakes. This will affect the placement of your new home on the lot. Easements for electrical and telephone polls will limit the space you have for building your home. Unless the property is in a development in a suburban track homes, you may not have an easy access to electricity, gas, telephone, cable television or public water lines. Also, if there are no municipal sewers, you will need to know where you can legally place your septic system.
You may feel tempted to cut on the cost of the land, so that you can spend more money on building your home. This is definitely not a good idea. To alter an unsuitable lot will probably cost you more than purchasing land that meets all your needs and wishes. The land will normally represent 20% to 25% of your total building costs, although there may be some exceptions. So plan your budget carefully, keeping in mind the hidden costs that will add to your final bill.
Choose the perfect location for your dream home. Don’t rush things, take your time to carefully think it through. Poor planning and budgets often lead to disastrous mistakes. You need to look at your new home from many different angles to determine what will work for you and what might go wrong. Trained professionals, like architects, engineers and builders will help you make effective decisions and guide you as to where you can save a few dollars and where you absolutely must not cut corners.