The 'How to' of Land
All building starts with land, so knowing how to choose your land is essential in the building process.
Purpose of the Block
The first question you need to consider is 'what do you want to achieve in your build?'
Is your block for a large home? Do you want a large backyard? Do you need space for a large carport, or is your priority simply about maximising your living space?
At this point you need to go to your budget and carefully calculate what you can afford.
Where are you interested in living? A land estate is sometimes referred to as a 'greenfield site' because it hasn't been built on before. An 'infill site' on the other hand is a block found in an existing neighbourhood.
You should consider what type of street you want to live in. Will it be a quiet street with no through traffic, or will it be a thoroughfare that may be more convenient for your commute?
In summer, the midday sun is directly overhead, while in winter the midday sun is on a northern angle. Depending on the way your block faces, you can try to get some living areas, or habitable rooms, on the north side that allows for winter warmth sunshine to come in.
Now that the WA State Government requires all houses to have a six star sustainability rating, choosing your block with solar aspect in mind will help the build meet the six stars requirements in an affordable way.
Taking the wind direction into account when choosing your plot of land is important, especially for future balconies, courtyards and gardens.
The West Australian coastline is particularly windy with south-westerly winds coming off the coast, so if you are building near the coast, your block buying decision should take into account where to have an outside setting that will be least impacted by the wind.
Size of the Lot
The square metre size of your lot will go some way to determining the valuation and future sale price of your property. This is because the size of the block is a key data point used by real estate agents and valuers for property sales and mortgage calculations.
If the building is double story, the size of the lot is not such a major consideration.
Many people when building in a new housing estate are keen to find out the house number of their property. However, house numbers are determined by the local government.
Therefore, the developer won't know the house numbers on each street until the titles are issued.
First Home Owner Grant
People who are buying their first home in WA may be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG).
A first homeowner may also be able to receive a reduction in stamp duty when buying the property.
Information on calculating how much first-time owners can expect can be found at this WA Government website.
Zoning shows what your block has been tagged for density. The density code will therefore place restrictions on land construction.
For example, if the residential lot you plan to build upon is classified RMD25, the setback from the boundary is a minimum of 3 metres. The RMD25 code also requires a garage to be at least 4.5 metres from the boundary.
Being clear on the zoning requirements of your block will help you plan the best possible house.
The entrance is the showpiece for your home and it is something you should be proud of. It should have a welcoming feel so don't ignore it when you are designing.
Therefore, when choosing a block, you should keep in mind the length of block that faces the street. Having a wider block will allow you to build a wider entrance and front garage.
The front of the house is called the elevation. With a wider block, you will more options to design an attractive elevation that adds to the overall valuation of the property.
Retaining walls are expensive to build and are typically required in blocks where the land slopes.
In some estates, retaining walls are included in the block price. However, in other new estates, the retaining wall planning and expense will be up to the buyer.
Coastal Zone Requirement
In addition to regular construction costs, a home that is built within approximately one kilometre of the coast will require additional costs to protect the house against harsh coastal conditions from salt and wind damage.
If building close to the coast, make sure you are clear what these distances are, as well as the additional costs which may be up to $20,000 on a new build.
All new estates are required by law to have an underground source of power. The power dome is generally located on every second lot and is shared by the two blocks.
As a bonus tip, it is worth having your meter box located on the side of your home where your power dome is, so that you shorten your electical run to the home which will save you a bit of money with the builder.