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How to Choose a Block of Land

Choosing The Block of Land for Your New Home is an important and complex step.

Every buyer will have a list of personal considerations when deciding where to put down roots. 

How do you choose a block when you know little about building and don’t really understand conveyancing? Block characteristics can be as varied and individual as your dreams for a new home. 

By following some core considerations, your choice of a new block of land can give you the right foundations for a home that is shaped for the life you want.

Following our basic steps to choosing your block might save you time, money and unnecessary heartache down your building road.

THE SIZE OF YOUR BLOCK WILL MATTER

Determining whether or not your proposed home will physically fit onto the block you choose might seem obvious yet many buyers overlook this most fundamental step. Before you fall in love with a block, be certain it will accommodate your plans. 

Older estates typically have larger blocks and it is now a growing trend to purchase an existing home for the land underneath to knock down and rebuild.

 Choosing a block in a new estate can be equally rewarding yet prepare to plan in a smaller space and possibly compromise backyard dreams. 

Buyers are wise to discuss technical considerations of block size with a builder before making a final commitment. Building concerns such as floor space ratio to land may seem overwhelming to comprehend but Braewood Homes can easily assist in making the right choice before you buy.

THE SHAPE OF YOUR BLOCK WILL BE IMPORTANT

Suburban areas offer blocks of all shapes and sizes and the smaller the block, the greater the impact the shape will have on your design capabilities. 

Sloping blocks can offer opportunities for clever design features yet also require a talented builder to work with gradient so your dream home can be physically built on your land. Greatly sloping blocks may require a split level home and a steep driveway- a real consideration for buyers with small children or those planning to start a family. 

Oddly shaped blocks can often lend to beautifully landscaped gardens that offer interest and appeal but these considerations need to be taken realistically. If you have little interest in gardening or hope for a rectangular lawn, now is the time to make these choices. 

It is no light concern that block shape will directly determine how much sunshine your home and land will see. Neighbouring buildings and trees will either block or allow light onto your land so remember to consider where the light will hit your land at all times of the day.

LIFESTYLE

Where your block sits in the neighbourhood, suburb and state will help you live the life you wish for. 

Consider the following basics for choosing location;

  • Access to and from work, schools and friends - are there easy routes or will you spend too much time travelling?
  • Is there reasonable access to shops, medical facilities, library, sporting opportunities?
  • Is there reasonable mobile phone coverage and internet access?
  • Are there any negatives to buying in that location; high crime rate, mobile phone towers, busy roads that can be unsafe for children and pets, noisy train lines, ambulance routes or flight paths overhead?

DEVELOPERS REQUIREMENTS

Many new housing estates have developer’s requirements; this is to maintain a certain consistency or level of prestige within the Estate. 

Developers Guidelines include (but are not limited to) – Front Façade (Colours and Materials used) and usually require approval of front landscaping. 

Developer’s Guidelines and requirements can be an advantage, they may preserve the Estate’s Quality of Design, Street Appeal and Resale Value. However, you need to be aware of the requirements, sometimes these can add tens of thousands of dollars to your home build. 

If you are considering purchasing a corner block, please keep in mind most developers require you to treat the both the front of the home and the side street side of the home with the same front façade requirements.

EASEMENTS

An easement is a section of land registered on your property title, which gives someone the right to use the land for a specific purpose even though they are not the land owner. An example is a shared driveway. 

In addition to shared purpose, blocks can potentially include a water easement running through the title and these cannot be built over. If you purchase a block in a master planned estate, easements will typically run along fence lines yet you would be wise to know before you purchase- especially if you plan to install a swimming pool in later years!

DRAINAGE – DON’T LET YOUR DREAM BE WASHED AWAY

Two Story Facade

Assessing drainage of your potential block before you purchase is crucial in avoiding building hold ups and disastrous problems in the long term. Stormwater drainage and sewerage pipes can directly affect the design of your home – especially if your block is in an older suburb. 

Three major concerns to discuss with your builder are:

  • Overland flow - excess water from heavy rainfall
  • Storm surge flooding - relevant in low-lying or coastal blocks
  • Floor prone areas - even suburbs of Melbourne are affected

Newer estates are often built on old swamp lands or over natural springs that buyers will never know about if they are relocating from outer areas. Your expert builders have comprehensive knowledge about what could potentially lie beneath your block and advise whether it’s wise to purchase in the spot you have chosen.

FIRE ZONES

Every Australian is aware of imminent fire danger in the warmer months yet often buyers neglect to assess this risk when choosing a block of land, particularly when looking in more suburban areas. 

There are many suburban fire zones that will directly impact the cost of a build and dictate materials and designs of your new home. Blocks backing onto bushlands or parks are often required to meet official bushfire standards. 

Insurance costs vary greatly in fire zones and what might not seem like a major concern at the start of a build, home owners can resent an ongoing surcharge throughout the lifespan of their home. 

Mature trees surrounding properties must be considered for fire hazard and wind hazard and costs of arborists should be factored into choosing a block.

SOIL – WHAT LIES BENEATH YOUR FEET

Soil type means more to a home owner than what type of flowers will thrive in their new garden. Whether or not your block is made from clay based or sandy soil can lead to additional excavation costs! 

A simple geotechnical report will test the soil and allow your builder to assess the reactivity of the land you wish to build on. Buyers need to be aware that more reactive soils are more expensive to build on. 

Extra precautions need to be put in place to keep your home stable. Deep pilings and specialized concrete slabs and foundations can escalate the costs of any project – knowing what is involved from the beginning and making an informed purchase is wise.

A QUALITY BUILDER IS YOUR BEST ALLY IN CHOOSING A BLOCK

Braewood Homes can offer expert advice that will help you select a suitable block of land. Seeking assistance from our experts will ensure your experience is exactly how you want it to be

Click on the Button to read another one of our Blog Posts: What You Don’t Know About Buying A House & Land Package