Thursday, February 21

How to choose the right plot

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An expert offers some sage advice

Plot-and-plan options are a top choice for many people wanting to buy in a new development, but deciding on the stand can be tricky.

It is difficult to envisage traffic flows, views, communal facilities, security provisions, and proximity to your neighbours until the homes in the development are actually built, says Gerhard Kotzé, managing director of the RealNet estate agency group.

“Price also counts, with larger stands and those with views costing more. But choosing the cheapest stand could limit the saleability of your home in future.”

Kotzé has this advice for buyers:

* Find out if the site was previously used for anything else or has geological limitations.

* Establish what other developments, if any, are planned for the area and imagine the effect these are likely to have.

* Avoid low-lying plots which may flood in poor weather. Construction techniques can minimise the risk of damage but these will add to building costs and mean you get less house for your money.

* Avoid plots on very steep slopes. The views they may provide seldom justify the additional costs of building on them. An extensive outlook could possibly change in a few years,while you will have much less usable garden space.

* Think twice before you buy a corner plot. If this turns out to be a busy corner in the completed development, you will have traffic noise on two sides. Similarly, try to avoid plots that face or back on to the development’s main roadway.

* Make sure the plots on either side and behind yours are also residential. You don’t want to end up living next to the clubhouse, laundry or tuck shop.

* If you choose a plot with a view, ensure the development has architectural height restrictions that will prevent the view from being blocked by newer homes.

* Choose a plot where the front of your home will face in the right direction. For sunny houses the home should face north or at least have east and west aspects that get the morning and afternoon sun.

* Avoid a plot with an irregular shape. These are often at the end of a cul-de-sac and make it more difficult to site a home correctly. They are also more likely to contain water and electricity servitudes.

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