What you need to know:
- In a situation where you need to cut costs, it will be ideal to compromise on land size without compromising on location.
- Building a well-designed home on a small block of land can be one of the smartest ways to get into the property market.
- A small lot does not necessarily mean you have to forgo the luxuries of a larger home, you can still have these and yet still significantly reduce the cost of putting up a home.
One of the biggest impediments for prospective homeowners is the cost of land.
While one may want to buy and build their dream home in an ideal, developed location, affordability can be a tough factor to navigate.
You may end up taking too long to finally get your home, living in a location you do not like or your project may stall.
A home should be a joyous and peaceful place, therefore, living in a location of your choosing and one that satisfies your and your family’s desires is important.
A viable solution then, in a situation where you need to cut costs, is to compromise on land size without compromising on location.
Building a well-designed home on a small block of land can be one of the smartest ways to get into the property market, and can help you and your family realise your dream of owning a home.
And a small lot does not necessarily mean you have to forgo the luxuries of a larger home, you can still have these and yet still significantly reduce the cost of putting up a home.
How then do you go about it, and what are some of the tips that can help guide you on your home-building journey?
1. Understand the orientation of your site
Whether you are building on open fields with hectares to spare, or yours is a tiny block giving you sleepless nights as you try to fit your home plan, it is important to understand something as simple as a direction - where the sun rises and where it sets.
While building on a small piece of land, it means your house will have to be compact.
Understanding your land orientation and developing a suitable floor plan will ensure you get rooms properly placed, for instance, a family room or lounge, or a kitchen, which may require more natural light than a bedroom or a bathroom.
2. Go for open plan living
Building on a small lot is all about making the most of the available space, and open plan living is the way to go.
This is not a new concept and has been increasingly picking pace among many homeowners, but it is essential that you adopt it in this case since it will make your home look larger than it is and lends it airiness.
3. Include clever storage plans to maximise space
The word here is dead space, and there is a lot of it in many homes.
In large homes, there are plenty of potential storage areas that are sometimes left bare, wasted space, for instance, the areas under the stairs and under tables.
With this in mind, while building on a small piece of land, create built-in storage in those areas that would otherwise remain unutilised.
When these spaces are planned for in advance and included in the plan, as opposed to identifying and utilising them after your house is already built, they will be better integrated into the overall look of your home, not look like afterthoughts.
Planning beforehand also means you already determined their purpose, and this will help you determine what to incorporate, be it a shelf for your books, a cabinet to store household items or storage for clothing and other garments.
4. Do not waste your outdoor area
When the sun comes out you might want a place to just sit, busk and enjoy the fresh air as you have some alone time.
It could also be an entertaining area or an area for your children to play.
Small does not necessarily mean limiting, as you can still have a very functional, enticing yard and outdoor area with clever planning.
One option that instantly adds to your outdoor space and play area is having an external courtyard within the location where you are building.
But in case you do not have access to such a space, worry not.
There is nothing that a little planning and design cannot solve, and if you are feeling stuck, perhaps it is time to consult an expert.
You can add to the outdoor feel of your yard by incorporating vertical gardens and greenery and choosing to build in places that have established green areas and parks.
Additionally, keep in mind that on a compact site and a compact home, your ability to borrow as much space from outside as possible – not just from your lot but even from views beyond – make a massive difference in how spacious your home feels.
5. Build up and build smart
Not only should you consider a second level when building on a small block, but high ceilings and large windows as well.
They do not take up any additional room and will greatly add to a sense of space.
Raised ceilings, skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows and open plan spaces that flow between indoor and outdoor living spaces all give homes a real feel for the flow of movement and space.
Sliding doors also take up less room than standard opening doors and increase the amount of natural light entering your home.
6. Add multi-purpose rooms to your floor plan
The aim here is to get your spaces working harder for you. Having multi-purpose rooms means you can change the way a space is utilised as your family grows.
Rooms such as studies, for instance, are not used all the time, so an easy way to ensure that it does not eat up unnecessary space is to create a study nook instead of setting aside an entirely separate room.
You can also incorporate a small office area in your bedroom or living room to serve you when you need it, especially if most of your work is done in the office and only occasional work needs to be done at home.
The dining area can also be transformed into a work area when need be, while your children can comfortably do their homework here.
Much like any other undertaking in real estate, building your little haven is achievable without necessarily breaking the bank.
All you have to do is take time to plan, consult where needed, and yes, be open to new ideas.