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6 Different Types of Lots For Building Houses

Collage photo of lots for building houses.

There’s a lot of work that goes into a new build before you even break ground. Whether you are drafting your custom plans with an architect or having a semi-custom home built in a newly planned subdivision, there is a lot of planning and consideration that goes into your home.

From the types of floors to the placement of light switches, most people are focused fully on the details of the house. You’ve probably also put a lot of thought into the design of the outside of the house. The roofline, the windows, even the garage door were most likely a carefully thought-out decisions.

There is something else that is just as important as the details of the house itself. That is the type of lot you choose to build on. If you have a large plot of land out in the country, positioning of the house and running the utilities will be your major concern.

For those building their house in a more populated area where smaller parcels of land are for sale, in a new subdivision, or in an established subdivision that is expanding, you will need to decide what sort of lot you are looking for.

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There are several different types of lots to build houses on, and the type of lot you choose can affect the design decisions you make on your house plans. From the direction, the lot faces, to the slope and the size, your lot is probably the most important decision you will make as part of the house-building process. You can change the specific features of your house, but you can not change the type of lot you built on.

If you are new to the house-building process, and just starting to research everything that goes into it you might be overwhelmed by all the terminology that is being thrown at you. You might be so focused on the house that you haven’t given much thought to the lot you want.

This guide will explain the different residential building lot styles and the pros and cons of each. We will also help you break down how to decide which style of the building lot is right for you. Keep reading to find out more about the types of lots for building houses.

Types Of Lots For Building Houses

Corner Lot

A look at a corner lot home in a suburban neighborhood.

This lot is typically mentioned when describing an ideal house. “A darling house, on a corner lot”. The corner lot is located at the intersection of 2 streets.

This type of lot isn’t ideal if privacy is a major concern, but it gives you not only a front and backyard but an easily accessible and very often quite usable side yard. Being perched on a corner also means that there is no house sitting directly next to you blocking the light, which can make your house feel brighter.


This is an aerial view of a cul-de-sac dead end street.

This is another highly desirable style of building lot. Positioned at the top of a rounded street with a turnaround, this style of a lot is much more private.

Since the house is at the end of a turnaround and not through the street, this lot will have much more privacy due to the limited traffic. The front yard may be smaller, but the backyard is usually larger to compensate.

Key Lot

This lot is the first lot after a corner lot. It has two neighbors on each side, and also a neighbor in the back. This lot is not ideal if you are looking for privacy, and you will have the light blocked due to having houses positioned on either side. These lots do tend to be less expensive.

T- Intersection Lot

A look at a T-intersection lot in a suburban neighborhood.

This is a lot that sits at the intersection of two streets, where drivers are forced to turn left or right, forming a T shape.

This lot can be less than desirable because of the amount of traffic on the roads, and headlights shining into house windows at night. If the house is in a quiet subdivision, this may not be as problematic as it may seem.

Interior lot

This is very similar to a key lot, surrounded by neighbors on all sides. This is the most common type of lot you will find. These lots usually have a backyard of a decent size but like other lots bordered by neighbors, lack privacy.

Flag Lot

This is the least desirable lot type. It is positioned behind other lots and has a long narrow driveway out to the street. It is surrounded by the backyards of the other homes and has limited curb-appeal.

How To Choose A Lot

A row of similar detached houses in a suburban neighborhood.

There is more to picking your lot than just deciding on the type of lot you prefer. There are other factors that will affect your enjoyment of your house once it is completed, and can also affect resale down the road.

Think about the slope of the lot

Will you have to mow a lawn that is on an incline, does the backyard have a steep drop off that might not be safe if you have small children.

What is the view like?

Do you have a view you won’t mind seeing every time you leave your house, or will you be looking at something unappealing like a gas station or a warehouse?

With other houses built how much privacy will you have?

Are there any ways you can create more privacy that will be allowed by codes or the homeowners association?

How big are the lots?

Take a look at the houses in the subdivision that are already built. Are the house positioned so closely together that they almost touch? Some people might not mind this but for other people, it might be a deal-breaker.

Which direction is the lot facing?

The direction it faces will have an effect on the amount of light in your house. Southern exposures are the most desirable. You will need to decide if the direction is a deal-breaker if everything else about the house is perfect.

Think about what you would like to do with your yard

A residential home with a front lawn.

Are you a huge gardener? Then the direction your house faces is definitely a major consideration.

Do you want to eventually install a pool, or do you like to have room for sports or backyard games? Then you definitely want a flat lot.

How long do you want your driveway?

If you aren’t looking forward to shoveling then a flag lot may be right out.

Are you willing to pay more for a more ideal lot?

Desirable lots come at a premium. Are you willing to lay out more money for the lot, and make some concessions with the design or finishes in the house to get a perfect lot, or are you more concerned about the inside of the house?

Find out what the setback requirements are

These will affect the amount of usable space in your yard.

See what drainage is like on the lots

if you want a basement this will have an effect on if the house needs to be built on a slab, and if the basement will have flooding issues that will require an expensive fix.

How full is the subdivision you want to build in?

A subdivision nearing completion will have fewer or no desirable lots left to choose from. If you have your heart set in this neighborhood this may not be a problem for you.

If you have a desire for a very specific type of lot, you may need to keep looking. Don’t settle on a lot you aren’t excited about if you are laying out a great deal of money to build a house.

Do Your Research Before You Even Pick a Subdivision

A row of different houses in a subdivision.

If it is an area you are unfamiliar with, find out how quickly things are expanding. Is this an area that is going through a boom, or has it reached a balanced state?

If things seem to be expanding is this something you are fine with or do you prefer a quieter area. Find out about schools in the area. You may not have children, but houses in a good school district are more appealing if you need to sell your house down the road. They hold their value better than homes in districts that aren’t doing as well.

The best way to decide which lots resonate with you is to get to know the neighborhood you want to live in. Visit it at different times of day to get a feeling for the area, and look at the other houses that are already built to decide how you feel about the way they sit on the lot.

Are you happy with the distance between the houses? How well-maintained do the houses seem to be? Does it look like people have pride of ownership, and seem to take care of their yards and the exterior of their homes?

Beware of discounted lots. If a builder is offering you a deal on a lot or seems to be aggressive about getting you to decide on a specific lot, there may be a reason these lots aren’t selling. Find out about any issues the lot might have is necessary before you make a deal. It may be something you can live with, but don’t settle for a subpar lot just to get a deal. It is meant to benefit the builder and not you.

Always keep resale in mind. Not because you should be eager to sell your house, or allow it to influence your design decisions to an extreme, but because in case you find yourself in a position in which you do need to sell quickly, you will not end up in dire financial straits.

Are you still on the fence about building a house versus buying a house that is already built? Take a look here to find out more details about the process of building a home.

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