Jun 04

Building a House – How To Choose Your Location – 10 Considerations

Choosing a location for your new house is an important decision because your chosen area or neighbourhood will be your permanent residence. There are a lot of considerations that you have to take into account when choosing a location to build a house. You have to ask yourself, does the location satisfy your needs, standards, tastes and personal requirements? You have to imagine yourself living in the area and if you are comfortable with the thought of staying in the neighbourhood for many years, then you should go ahead and build a home. The following are some of the things that you might want to consider or investigate:

Does The Location Suit Your Income Status?

A lot of towns and cities are divided into low-income, middle-income and high-income areas. Middle class areas are further subdivided into lower-middle class and upper-middle class. Why do we need categories? The town and city municipalities have to classify areas according to income levels to maintain development standards and property value. Investors are attracted to real estate earmarked for specific purposes i.e. residential, commercial and industrial developments. If people were allowed to build random structures anywhere, the neighbourhood would be unsightly and it would lose its market value.

If you are planning to build a house, evaluate your income status and decide if you should build a house in a low class, middle class or high class area. Building regulations and requirements may be different in each area, for example to build a house in a middle class or high class area, the gross floor area of your house plan or value of your building should fall within a specified range. There are many other building codes that you have to satisfy. Therefore, building a house in a specific location is not always about choice, but what the city authorities require you to build.

The building cost per square metre varies across locations in the city. Land is cheaper in low-class areas, and the price will increase progressively as you go up the salary scale. Because of the small building space and simple housing structures that can be built in low-class areas, the cost of building is much more affordable than in upper-class zones reserved for exclusive architect-designed houses.

Still, there are huge plots reserved for super luxury houses and villas. These are usually located on coastal areas and the countryside.

Is the Location Extensively Serviced with Electricity, Water Supply and Roads?

As you go about looking for a place to build a house, you will realize that some places are not serviced with electricity, water supply and access to traffic. If you intend to build a home in a place without electricity supply, then you should consider using alternative forms of energy such as gas or solar panels for your cooking and lighting needs. This may be used as a temporary measure until your area is connected to the national power grid.

Some property developments have water supply, but they are not connected to the sewage system. In this case, you can install a temporary septic tank for your household unit, but you have to find out if there are any regulations for septic tanks in the area. Once the local drainage system is connected to the area, the septic tank can be dismantled or connected to the drainage system.

If the area is not connected to the local road network, temporary strip roads which join the network can be made.

Are there Consumer Supply Services in the Area?

Unless you have a car or you prefer travelling to the city centre to do your shopping, it is smart to choose a location where shops and other consumer services are within walking distance from your house. This way, you will save money on fuel and if you ever run out of supplies such as food, firewood, airtime or money, you can always visit the nearest shop or shopping complex. Check the local map or drive around to find out if there are shops, fuel stations, ATMs, banks and other services.

Are there Schools in the Area?

If you have a big family or planning to have one, the best thing you can do is choosing a location where there are schools in the proximity of your residential address. Find out if there is a Kindergarten, Elementary and High School in your neighbourhood. The nearer the school to your residence, the better it will be, because you are going to save transport money. Your children’s education should be prioritized at all times, and if they have only a few minutes to get home from school, more time will be available for homework and other important duties.

Is it a Low Crime or High Crime Area?

Most of the times, the majority of low-wage earners stay in urban areas with high crime rates. These townships are high-risk when compared to upper class areas. Low-class areas have high incidences of burglary, theft, robbery and other crimes related to social ills. If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of your kids, then you should choose a low-crime area, and these are usually quiet neighbourhoods with a high income earning community. The cost of building a house (rate per square metre) in high-class areas is much higher than low class areas.

Choosing a quiet neighbourhood is not just about safety, but it also affects your insurance rates. For example, if you stay in a high crime area, your car insurance premiums will be higher than a person who lives in a low crime area. This is due to the fact that in a high crime area, your car is more likely to be stolen, vandalised and broken into.

Location can also affect your home insurance premiums. A home which is located in a high crime area is more likely to be burglarized, and therefore insurance rates against theft and burglary will be higher than in low-risk areas. If you live in a high-risk area, you should take steps to protect your property, and hence reducing your premiums by installing security systems and equipment such as alarms, surveillance cameras, anti-snap locks, razor wire and high boundary walls.

Is it a Low Traffic or High Traffic Area?

If you have children attending elementary school, the worst place you can choose is a home address near busy roads. For the safety of children and anybody who uses the streets frequently, you have to choose an address within a low-traffic area, far from the highway and busy roads. These are quiet neighbourhoods where it’s hard to see a moving vehicle, except during peak hours when house owners are going to work in the morning and driving home after 5pm.

There are housing developments where cars are not allowed in the community square or public spaces. The city centre is often a busy area, as well as metropolitan areas. The further you live from the city, the lower the traffic you will get. Residential places located in the outskirts of the city and the countryside are safe for kids and other residents who don’t like engaging traffic on a daily basis.

Is it a Quiet or Noisy Area?

A densely populated area is more likely to have high noise levels than a low-density area. Noise in a high-density community comes from a number of sources – people in the streets, next door neighbours and social hang-outs such as liquor stores. Often, it’s hard to regulate such a community and unlicensed activity will sprout everywhere.

The place that you are going to build a house should not be close to a highway or railway track, because you don’t want to deal with traffic noise on a daily basis. Unless you want revellers to disturb your weekend rest or every other night when there is a gathering or event, your residential address should be far from a night club, bar, stadium or entertainment venue.

For reasons best known to themselves, some property developers have residential space close to an industrial zone. This might not be the best place to set up your home because of the frequent machine noise coming from factories and plants. At least, a residence close to a shopping zone or office block is much better because there isn’t that much noise compared to an industrial zone.

In the city, middle class and upper class areas are quieter than low class settlements. Coastal areas and rural areas are also known to be quiet places, the best places to enjoy peace and tranquillity.

Are There Alcohol Drinking Spots and Red Zones in the Area?

Unless you are asking for trouble, you should never set up a home in a red zone area or other murky place where you are more likely to encounter drunken revellers on a regular basis. Avoid places with night clubs, pubs, bars and liquor stores. Stay away from places near strip clubs, casinos and gambling zones.

These places are not only high risk, but they can have a negative impact on children and teenagers who legally prohibited from visiting such places. Living in such a place will expose your kids to immoral activities such as alcohol abuse, gambling and prostitution.

Is there Air Pollution in the Area?

Air pollution is a hazard that can have serious consequences on your health. Modern industrialization is the major cause of air pollution in developed countries. Urban areas have high volumes of traffic which release carbon emissions into the atmosphere. These emissions along pollutants from factories and power plants combine with sunlight to create ground-level ozone also known as smog. You have probably seen cities covered with smog on TV or internet e.g. New Delhi, Mexico City, Beijing, Dan Diego, California, Washington DC and San Francisco.

Living in a smog covered area can expose your lungs to pollutants. Partaking in strenuous activities such as running (which force you to inhale at a faster rate) increases the amount of pollutants in your lungs. Smog has been known to cause a variety of health issues from asthma to lung infections.

To escape air pollution, choose a non-industrial area with little or no traffic. This can be a small town, tourist resort, countryside village or coastal area. Less developed towns have little to no air pollution, and there is plenty of fresh air, vegetation and trees, which is good for your lungs.

Is the Location Close to Dumping Sites and Contaminated Water?

When you are looking for a site to build a house, check the surroundings for any dumping sites and contaminated water. Living close to a dumping site can be an unpleasant experience because of bad smells coming from rotting rubbish. Since the rubbish needs to be burned or incinerated on a regular basis, the atmosphere will be constantly filled with smoke. Rubbish dumps also pose a health hazard caused by windborne germs and particles from disused chemical products.

Toxic waste is also found in rubbish dumps, including rivers, lakes and seashores affected by water pollution. Above all, make sure that your construction site is not situated close to a sewage pond or waste water treatment plant. People who decided to set up residence next to a sewage treatment plant are regretting because of unpleasant smells that linger on a daily basis.

Are there Recreational Facilities in the Area?

The presence of recreational facilities is an attractive incentive for people to set up residence in the location. A peaceful and safe environment is what everybody needs, but a dull place with no places to relax and interact with the community can be boring. Kids need a place to play with other kids. Teenagers need a social life, and adults need a hobby.

A residential development with a community park, children’s playground, library, gym, DVD rental, movie theatre, shopping mall and church is ideal for people who need a form of recreation.

SUMMARY

To summarize, if you are looking for a place build a house or set up your permanent residence, you must choose:

  • A location that suits the value of your residential development
  • A location that is serviced with electricity, water supply and roads
  • A location with consumer supply services – shops, banks, post office, fuel stations, ATMs etc.
  • A location with kindergarten, elementary and high school
  • A safe location with low crime rates
  • A safe location with low traffic volumes, away from busy roads and highways
  • A quiet location with low noise levels (noise pollution)
  • A location that is far from alcohol drinking spots and red zones
  • A location with clean, fresh, unpolluted air
  • A location that is far from dumping sites and contaminated water
  • A location with recreational facilities (park, playground, gym, shopping mall, library etc)