How to Pick a Good Lot to Build On

How to Pick a Good Lot to Build On

Choosing a good lot to build your custom home on is incredibly important. Over the years, we’ve helped many clients the perfect site. We often walk potential lots with clients before the purchase the land to answer questions, discuss potential ideas, and identify possible downsides to the site.

There are several things to keep in mind as you start your search for the ideal property.

Choosing a Neighborhood

The first phase of choosing the ideal lot for your new home is to decide where you want to live. Whether you dream of living in the center of town or in the country, it’s important to consider what the neighborhood will offer and how that will impact your daily life.  Start by identifying the most important aspects of your life and routine. Do you have school-aged children? Do you drive to work? What are your space needs? Etc.


While we are fortunate that Bend Oregon has phenomenal public schools, your home-site selection will effect which schools you’re children will go to throughout their pre-college education.  How will they get to school from your new home? How long does it take?  You can look at the Bend-LaPine District map for details.

Consider your Commute

Your career is certainly an important component of choosing a good lot for your new home. If you work from home, you will want to consider the space you’ll need. Will you have clients coming to your home office and will it be convenient for them to get to your site?  If you work outside of your home, do you walk, bike, or drive? What routes will you have to take from your new neighborhood and how long will your commute be?

CC&R’s and HOAs

Ask your realtor for detailed information about the c ovenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and the Home Owners Association (HOA). There may be rules and regulations that hugely impact the ability for you to build the home you want.  There may also be fees and benefits that impact your decision to purchase the lot.

Choosing the Perfect Lot

Once you’ve identified your ideal neighborhood, you can start to look at specific lots. Considering available views, access from main streets, and site features will help you make the right choice.

Location in the Subdivision

Most subdivisions have a variety lots to choose from.  The location of your lot effects the amount of noise, work for, and privacy for your family. Lots close to the entrance have more traffic noise than a lot on a cul-de-sac, but it offers quicker access in and out of the neighborhood. Secluded cul-de-sacs offer safety for families with small children, but their design makes snow removal difficult, and their wedge-shaped lots can have narrow front yards. Corner lots have traffic on two sides and are typically larger, requiring more landscaping and yard maintenance. If there are sidewalks on both sides, you’ve got more snow to clear in the winter. On the positive side, corner lots allow a side-load garage. They also bring higher visibility to a home, so you’ll need a design with street appeal on two sides instead of just the facade.

Site Features

In Central Oregon, it’s common to find two side-by-side lots that are drastically different. A lava flow on one can make the site-work much more expensive than it would be on the other. Mature trees can be ideal for landscaping or they can be burdensome to remove. An elevated lot effects your driveway location, how many stairs you have to climb, etc. Walking the lot with your designer and builder together is the best way to identify beneficial elements and troublesome details.


Your designer & architect will work with the orientation of the building site in order to maximize your views, but lot orientation effects many other aspects of your home as well. For example, you’ll want to consider which direction your driveway will face – north-facing will have more ice and snow to deal with.  If you’re planning to install solar panels, south the south-facing portion of your lot will factor into your decision.

Get Help Choosing Your Lot

While many realtors are knowledgeable about building custom homes, we recommend asking your builder to walk the property with you before you make the purchase. If you haven’t selected your builder or architect yet, you can still ask one to help guide you. We have helped many people understand the property they are purchasing without being the designated, contractual builder.  Please contact us if you have questions.