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Why You Might Love a Tricky Lot

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Before you can even think about shopping for house plans, you need to know where your new home will go and the limitations of that space. Lots come in all sorts of shapes and sizes whether you’re looking at an untouched piece of land, a freshly subdivided neighborhood-to-be, or a well-established street that just happened to have an address open up. You’ll come across different dimensions and slopes, and they might interfere with the dream home you imagined. Don’t worry—many highly desirable homes are specifically designed to tackle challenges and make the most of their settings. Here’s why you shouldn’t overlook tricky lots, and why you might actually come to prefer them!

House Plan 4288

Shop our Narrow Lot House Plan Collection if you need a home that fits into a tight spot. You’ll find everything from modest cottages to luxury mansions under 55’ wide, and a number of super skinny designs like House Plan 4288.

Narrow Lots

Most narrow lots are found in high-demand locations—think lakes, beaches, and urban sites where developers aim to maximize housing for the market. Homes with narrow façades can easily make up square footage with plenty of depth, so they come in sizes ranging from tiny to positively luxurious. If a popular location is a major must-have for you, you’ll likely come across narrow lots for sale. Rest assured that architects know exactly what to do with them.

Whether you’re in it for the views or proximity to certain amenities, you’ll find narrow homes that address your needs in terms of features and architectural style. Many put their garages right up front so you don’t waste windows on the street and get more privacy as a result. Depending on the layout, you might find that windows surround spaces due to the closer exterior walls, resulting in more natural light. The longer shape in a tightly packed neighborhood also means that most of the house is buffered from traffic noise. Finally, narrow lots are less expensive than their wider counterparts, so you can invest in a slice of ideal property and put more into the house itself—whether that means building up or finishing it exactly how you see fit. It’s all about maximization, and because these homes tend to have simpler, cost-effective shapes, you can do a lot with your budget.

THD-7715 luxury contemporary house plan

House Plan 7115 is a luxury contemporary design made to help you maximize a hill and do so beautifully. See homes like this and others that offer daylight basements in our Sloping Lot House Plan Collection.

Sloped Lots

Topography is an expensive thing to change. If you want to live in the mountains, you’ll find lots with all kinds of slopes, but uneven land can be found practically everywhere. Some consumers think they need to level the ground or find another place to build, but a sloped lot actually has more to offer. The fact is, builders might prefer flat lots because they are less expensive to build on, but they may not have the most interesting views or livable basements for the homeowners.

If you come across a beautiful sloped lot, think of ways to utilize its grade. You might be able to consolidate the foundation—and save money—with a drive-under garage that boosts living spaces for better views, too. Drive-under house plans come with front-, side-, and rear-entry garages to adapt to a variety of conditions, and they might also offer some extra living space and/or a large ground-level mudroom entrance to prevent messes from coming upstairs. If space is a main concern, you might be interested in walk-out or daylight basements that offer inverted living or room that you can finish later. These convenient features are enough for many homeowners, but some specifically seek out sloped lots because they provide the best views around. Often with a deck to take sights in from the fresh air, too, you’ll find that a slope gives you the best opportunity to enjoy your whole property. And again, you’ll find budget-friendly and luxurious options!

House Plan 1532

Use our Advanced Search and input the maximum width and depth allowable for your lot—you’ll find space-efficient designs like House Plan 1532, which offers 2,981 square feet with four bedrooms in a neat 33’ by 37’ footprint.

Lots That Require Minimal Coverage

You might come across a piece of land with a limited amount of buildable space or there could be zoning requirements—whatever the reason, some people need to minimize the size of their home’s foundation. This doesn’t mean you need to settle for a smaller house, just that you need to condense your square footage over less area. A very square home might be enough, but you can always build up, too. The International Residential Code covers homes up to three stories high for a reason.

But why would you want to settle for a lot that comes with such restrictions? Because it might have gorgeous natural beauty to offer, and because you might be able to get it at a steal. For instance, many people overlook land full of granite because blasting is expensive, but if you can put a home on a more suitable patch and employ a sufficient foundation drainage system, you don’t have to worry about it. If you fell in love with a lot for its natural beauty, why wouldn’t you want to preserve as much of it as possible? You want a lot primarily for the house it’ll host, but it also performs ecological services, so it’s a great idea to consolidate your home to preserve the environment.

No matter your land challenges, The House Designers is here to help! Our experienced sales team can help you find a home that meets your needs, and in many cases, we can modify a home you love so it works with the lot you have. Don’t be afraid to contact us for any questions or assistance.