When should I decide on a lot?

Why you should talk to a builder first

Buying a lot for a new build can be every bit as emotional and exciting as buying a house. You can fall in love with the view, the location, the natural setting, and that perfect oak tree you envision hanging a tire swing on.
You might not think about consulting a builder before signing on the dotted line. But according to Molly Sullivan, sales manager for Living Stone Design + Build, there are some very good reasons that you should.

Living Stone Design+Build The Modern Farmhouse


“It’s very important to choose a lot that can accommodate the type of house you plan to build,” says Molly. “You want to design and build with the topography, and not against it. An experienced builder who’s familiar with the area can tell you whether a lot you’re interested in will work for your home’s specific needs.”



Consulting a builder before buying a lot can definitely help you stay on budget. “Prospective homeowners don’t always realize that the topography of their lot can dramatically affect the price of a build,” explains Molly.
“The steeper the slope of a lot, the higher the cost of the build. A foundation higher than 12 feet will require engineering, as well as more concrete, more steel, more site prep, and more erosion control. It’s exponentially more expensive”



The topography of a lot affects everything from the footprint, to the angle, to the way your home is structured. “If you have a flat lot, your best bet is a slab foundation and a main floor and upper floor,” says Molly. “With a sloping lot, the best value is a home with a main and lower floor, because you’re utilizing the slope that you already have.”

The Takeaway

Obviously, you can’t bring a builder to every prospective lot with you. But many builders will be happy to consult with you before you go lot shopping, and/or visit a lot you’ve fallen in love with to make sure it will work for you. “At Living Stone, we place a priority on educating clients prior to the process,” says Molly. “ I teach my prospects about topography and how it affects the budget, and I explain pros and cons of a particular lot. It helps ensure that they are able to make the best possible decision.”


One of our clients taking an excavator for a spin on goundbreaking day at their lot. Just kidding – it was off.