• Maria Luisa Castellanos

So you want to build a new house. Do you know how to pick a site for it?

Updated: Apr 9

5 Things you should know when building your house

This is a group of people looking over plans

The first thing you need before building a house is the land, but when this issue comes into play, so do other dilemmas. What should I look at when choosing a site? How do I know if one site is better or worse than another?

To help you, we summarize 5 important points that you should take into account when choosing the site for your next home.

1. The terrain. It is the factor that will most affect the construction of your house. Before buying it, you should investigate as much as possible about the composition of the soil, the soil bearing capacity, possible contamination, streams or aquifers, and whether it is in a flood zone. What will be the views from the house? Will it be on a lake, a river, or some beautifully landscaped area?

2. Orientation. This is important because it will affect the project design. For example, if most of the window openings in the design face south, the house will be warmer, which translates into greater clarity, but these openings need to be protected by eyebrows or overhangs. Windows facing west should be avoided. Western sun is the hot sun at the end of the day which casts long shadows and does not offer great viewing opportunities.

3. Infrastructure connections. Although today most areas of Miami are on the electrical grid, you really need to check whether you have water and sewer available. Much of Miami does not have sewer lines and bringing a sewer line to a site is very expensive. It is also advisable to check that the site has telephone, internet services, and gas, if you want to cook with gas. Most of Miami does not have gas lines, so if you want to cook with gas, you will likely need a service to bring you gas tanks.

4. The zoning regulations that affect the site. There are laws that allow buildings up to a certain number of square feet and height. Check that the house or building you want to erect falls within the range the law will allow.

5. The slope. You are not allowed to dump the water run-off from your site onto your neighbor's. Therefore, you may have to create a swale or install a French drain to make sure your water stays on your site.

Did you find this information useful? Save this post for when you need to read it again. Or call me now, Maria Luisa Castellanos, at 305-439-7898, if you want to start a discussion about the planning of your new house or looking for a lot for a house. As an architect and Realtor, I can help you buy a lot and design a house.