Many people have considered building their new home on a lot that they already own or have purchased. There are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect lot for your new home, so it is important to explore all of your options before making a decision. 

You should also find out if there are regulations around building in the area, such as:

  • Which county & city are the permits through?
  • Is the property located within city limits?
  • Wikipedia defines Extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) as the legal ability of a government to exercise authority beyond its normal boundaries. Make sure and determine if your proposed lot or property is within one of these jurisdictions. 
  • What is the property zoning?
  • Is this lot or property located within an HOA that could impact what architectural styles are available? 
  • What do you foresee the neighborhood & area to look like in 10 or 20 years?

You can see from those questions that there is a lot that goes into selecting which property you might want to purchase. Miss something, and you could be in for a big (unpleasant) surprise later on!

Continue reading as we discuss 7 considerations you should make when selecting the right lot for your new home build.

7 Main Aspects of Building on Your Lot

New home building lot selection can be a tricky job, as we saw in the questions above. That’s why we are mentioning 7 tips to assist you in the process. Use them as a checklist, as you build on your own lot. 

1- Minimum Lot Size to Build a House

What is the minimum lot size to build a house?  The answer depends on where you live. This article references California, so generally the minimum urban lot size is around 800 square feet. Of course, you would want to confirm that number for the specific area that you're looking to build in. 

2- Building on a Sloped Lot 

What are some things to consider when building on a sloped lot? Building on a slope can be problematic, and has to be thoroughly assessed by professionals. If you’re considering this, it would be wise for you to consult with an engineer and/or contractor who has built on sloped lots before. There are instances where parts of a house start seeing cracks- or worse, if it's not built properly. 

There are generally two methods for building a house on a sloped lot: the "cut and fill" method, or stilts.

Developing a lot requires leveling the ground, next comes cutting down trees on the property to allow for building, then filling in any holes with dirt. It is common to import topsoil to level the lot. Land will be excavated from your slope and used as retaining walls for your home or trucked out-of-sight if it can not be recycled onsite. The cost of construction on a sloped lot is at least twice what it would be for leveling ground. So take this into account if you're looking at purchasing a sloped lot for your new custom home.

The other method is using stilts as opposed to cutting into the slope. Using stilts requires a crane to lift and place the home onto wooden or steel columns. This is much less expensive than cut and fill and opens the door to more possibilities for where you will build your home. Some stilt homes end up having spectacular views.

Orientation of the home is also an important consideration. Your lot may have a natural slope, but the location of your home on that slope can make it seem level from the inside. That is not always true to its appearance outside looking in!

3- Orientation of the home on the lot

You should also consider how you want to orient your new custom house with respect to sunrise and sunset. The orientation is not only a matter of aesthetics, but also can have an impact on your utility bills. The direction the home faces could maximize or minimize the sun into your home. You can also take advantage of beautiful sunrises or sunsets if the living areas of your home face these directions. All important things to consider. 

Additionally, the access point to your lot may determine where your house can be. If there's only one place your driveway can be, then obviously your home can't be built there, so access could limit your options. The parts of your house like the front, side, and rear yards often turn out to be a decisive factor in practical designing. To put it in plain terms, the orientation of your house on the lot is one thing which can have a bigger influence on the end result, and determine if you actually want to buy the lot you were thinking of.

Involving professionals, like the Bianchi-Tillett team, to assist you in this process is always a good idea. They'll help you every step of the process.

4- Topography and Natural Features

Considering the natural features of the lot is important along with slope and orientation. This is where you can maximize the features of your property with giant windows or a conveniently designed outdoor living area that would highlight the surrounding beauty. 

5- The Direction of the Sun 

We mentioned this before, but want to highlight it as many people bring this up as an important point for their home. Many want to fill their new custom home with sunlight and natural warmth. When you build on your own lot, you have the option to decide how your home will interact with natural sunlight. 

6- Property’s Setbacks and Easements

This is one of the most vital points to understand in new home building lot selection. A little know-how about setbacks and easements goes a long way. You must have the proper knowledge of the size limits of your home on your lot. You don’t want to encroach on somebody else’s or government’s land, causing huge headaches later. This is again where the Bianchi-Tillett Developers team can help you avoid costly mistakes. 

7- Location of Utilities and Driveway Access

Are all utilities already routed to the lot or property? If the answer is no, understand that will be an additional and possibly significant expense. You'll also need to figure out who provides those services to that location. Make sure and understand the access to your property or lot. If your home is not located on a public road, it may be difficult to receive essential services like water, sewage or electricity. Not to mention, you may have to secure an easement to create  driveway access to your property. 


New home building lot selection can be puzzling for those not in the industry but the right choice of home builder makes all the difference. Make your new home building experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible.  Bianchi-Tillett Developers has a team of professionals to match your needs, help you build the perfect new home for you and find lots in any desired location. Contact us today!

Additional Reading:

Best Places to Live in Sacramento

Building a New Home Checklist

Pros & Cons of Building a Custom Home

Cost to Build a Custom Home