The art of lot selection
Finding the perfect lot for you is the first step in the new home building process
A Parkwood home under construction in Littleton, Colorado's Sterling Ranch community
If you're considering building a new home, one of the first decisions you'll make is exactly where you want your home. Each builder in Sterling Ranch, from Lennar to Taylor Morrison to Parkwood to Brookfield, has home lots for sale in Providence Village or will soon have lots for sale in Sterling Ranch's next community, Ascent Village. So once you've identified the builder and floorplan you're interested in, you'll need to decide which lot is the right one for you.
Sound simple? Well, it can be, but not always.
Like most master-planned communities, not all lots are the same. First, each builder charges a different fee for each lot. Called a "lot premium," this fee varies based on the builder's own assessment as to which lots are more attractive to potential buyers.
This can be a subjective analysis, but generally bigger corner lots adjacent to parks, open space, or other desirable amenities have higher lot premiums. Lots tucked away in a neighborhood might have lower lot premiums. Lot premiums in Sterling Ranch range from a few thousand dollars to up to $50,000 or more for a premier lot.
Our clients here at Focus Real Estate often ask us whether a lot premium is worth it for a premier lot or whether they should go for a smaller lot premium location and perhaps budget the money they save elsewhere, like the design center.
Here's my typical answer: Sterling Ranch is one of the few new master planned communities in the Denver metro area next to the foothills. Needless to say, foothills and mountain views have been a priority for many of our clients whom we've helped through the new construction process in Sterling Ranch. So when picking a lot, be cognizant of where your views will likely be.
For example, at Focus we can drone your potential lot to give you a sense of what views you might have from the second (and third, if applicable) floors once your home is completed.
The counterpoint is that mountain views are so pervasive in Sterling Ranch that the odds are good you'll have several "peek-a-boo" views of the Front Range regardless of which lot you select. So first, you likely need to decide how important big mountain views from your house are, or if you're good with views from the street, parks, trails, Sterling Center, and everywhere else you might roam in the community, with home views being a bonus.
Second, consider which part of your future lot and home will be south-facing. Colorado gets a lot of southern sun during the winter months, so for example if you want your driveway to melt faster in the winter, make sure your driveway faces south. If you want big evening sunset views, you might want your backyard and/or deck to face south.
Third, take a look at and try to determine what floorplans will be going in around your lot. Will the future homes impede your views? Do they have chimneys? How about third floors? While it's hard to find a lot that doesn't have some views blocked by neighboring homes, make sure you have a sense for what's going in around you.
There are other factors to consider like the potential resale value of, say, a corner lot v. a non-corner lot, whether you have children who might want to use the park or whatever amenity the higher lot premium home you're considering is close to, whether a home with a smaller lot premium might get you "close enough" to what you're trying to achieve with your new home, and so on. This is where the "art" aspect of lot selection comes in - there are many factors to weigh, and one of your jobs as the de facto designer of your new home is to not only pick out the floorplan, colors, appliances, and so on that you've always wanted, but to also look at the entire canvas surrounding your future home and to carefully and thoughtfully select the best lot for you.
Regardless, building a new home can be a wonderful experience. My family and I built our own home, and it was a great bonding and learning experience watching our home come to fruition in front of our eyes. Since we have younger kids, we decided to focus on finding a lot with a larger backyard. We were fortunate to find our perfect lot, and so far, so good!
Before I go, if you're thinking about building a new home be sure to check out the Sterling Ranch Roundup's New Home Library. Here are a few of the articles:
Mariel Ross is a realtor who specializes in helping clients budget for, design, and build their dream homes. At Focus Real Estate we've helped clients build hundreds of new homes around Denver with Lennar, Parkwood, Richmond, Wonderland, and many other builders.
Learn more about what I do here.