201-1500 Bank Street

Ottawa, ON K1H 7Z2

How do you choose a lot to build on?

By: Susan Oneid

There is alot to think about when choosing a lot!

Whether you are purchasing a residential lot in a subdivision or a house on a property you intend to tear down there are a few things you need to think about.

  • Is the size of the lot enough for the house you want to build considering setbacks and easements and surrounding structures
  • Are there any environmental concerns with the soil ie. Was there a gas station or dry cleaner just next door that might have caused potential chemical contamination?  Is there a rock bed underneath?  Does the lot need clearing before you build and will you need a permit to remove trees?  What is the history of the land?
  • Is the orientation of the land ideal for you in terms of natural light, sun rise and sunset?  Do you like the view you will see from all angles?
  • Are the structures on adjacent properties that will block light and obscure your view?
  • Does the design you have in mind go with the current look and feel of the neighbourhood?
  • Is the size of your dream house in proportion with others in the neighbourhood and will the size over power the size of the lot?
  • Are the services at the curb or do you have to pay to bring them into the neighbourhood-hydro, natural gas, water, or well and septic.
  • Is the street your new house fronts on busy?  Does the bus come down your street and is there a stop nearby (can be a plus or a minus depending on the person)
  • Is the school bus stop at the end of your driveway (can be a plus or a minus depending on your needs)
  • Will the lot provide enough parking for the number of vehicles you own?
  • Is the zoning appropriate for the type of structure you plan to build or do you have to make application for variance?
  • Does the neighbourhood support the value of the house you are planning to build-the most common mistake people make is not budgeting carefully from start to finish and they end up with a product that is so much more valuable than any other property in the neighbourhood-very difficult to sell if you should need to.
  • Are you aware of the costs of building?  Each step requires application and approval:
    • Demolition permit and carting away and disposal of old house and out buildings
    • Building permit/occupancy permit
    • Plumbing permit
    • Farm buildings and structures
    • Change of use permits
    • Transfer of permit
    • Pool enclosure permits
    • Construction permit
    • Signs
    • Compliance
    • And the list goes on…Please check the City of Ottawa Website 

This is absolutely not an exhaustive list of all the things you need to think about before you embark on the exciting journey of building your dream home but let me add this as a final thought…..Before you purchase a property  it would be a great idea to meet the neighbours on all 4 sides.  Just think these are the people who will have to live right beside your demolition and months of construction….It will be much smoother if you have at least a courteous relationship!


Susan Oneid

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