It’s very exciting to custom design your dream home! There are many decisions to make, from the size and style of the villa, right down to interior design and handpicking that cutting-edge kitchen technology for the perfect brown on your bagel. But before getting to villa design, you’ll need to find the best plot of land to suit your lifestyle and consider the elements that can affect the design and build of your home, and even its resale value.
As this can seem like a daunting and scary process, we have compiled a list of considerations every aspiring new homeowner should read before signing on that dotted line.
This might sound a little offbeat, but cost shouldn’t be the most important factor in your decision. You’ll want to get the best price possible, without a doubt, but remember this is a place you’ll call home for a while to come, and you’ll want it to be as close to your requirements as possible.
What others may consider a mediocre lot – which can possibly be negotiated for a lower price with the help of an expert – can often be beautified by a great designer. For example, land considered difficult to build on, such as slopes, could allow for a more interesting and multi-layered home. Another plot seemingly lacking privacy could be made more secluded through smart design and landscaping. Working with a good designer will help you get the most out of any plot and they can give advice even during the plot selection process.
2) Location, Location, Location
It’s important to look beyond the specific plot of land. Are there good schools nearby? How far is it from your workplace and how long is the commute? What is the distance from grocery stores or shopping malls? What about the community? Have you met with people already living in an area you are considering?
If you’re in a gated development, what amenities does it have? Access to a highway is important, but you don’t want to be right beside one! Try to find lots situated centrally within the development to avoid this. Consider other elements that may be important, such as access to wildlife, golfing, parks, places of worship and entertainment.
We recommend you visit the lot at different times of the day to get a feel for the expected noise levels, sunlight, breezes, traffic and more.
The type of land can significantly impact how your house is built, the subsequent design and build price tag. If the lot is downhill, there might be additional costs for a retaining wall (structures used to keep soil from uneven terrains in place) as well as piling, and other construction elements. Ideally, you’d be able to negotiate your lot price due to the terrain. From a design perspective, we personally prefer to work with hilly lots.
The best lots have ample green spaces and are on higher ground. Proximity to lakes and rivers are a plus, and you’ll also want to consider the other properties that have been built around the plot. Remember, you are designing your dream custom home, but so is your neighbour; your tastes might clash. Consider this – is your land positioned in a way where you won’t be affected? Speak to your designer to see if this can be mitigated through good design or landscaping.
We typically recommend around 15,000 square feet (1/3 of an acre) of land and upwards to ensure comfortable spaces for growing families. The key is to list different elements you’d like in your home in order of importance, and think about how much space you’ll need. Do you love walking around a garden on Sunday morning? Do you have kids who’d love a giant pool? Consider which elements of your home you can keep or have to forgo if budgets are of concern.
5) Sun orientation
The sun is an important element that is often overlooked. Sun direction is fairly crucial in affecting design, particularly for open-air villas or contemporary homes with a lot of glass. North-south facing is often most preferred.
Good designers will run a sun analysis and understand how you use your villa at different times of the day. Some homeowners want sun at the pool, others want shade. Have that discussion prior to selecting the plot!
Once design begins, 3D models will be used to simulate sunlight and shadow at multiple times of the day and year. Your designer can suggest overhangs and creative shelter in overly bright areas, or light wells and even reflective natural lighting in darker areas where the sun can’t reach.
6) Feng shui
Whether you personally subscribe to it or not, feng shui can play an important role in Asia. It’s even more crucial if you’re hoping to sell your house, as some buyers like to know that a feng shui master was involved in the plot selection and design. We find that about 15% of our clients are interested in this.
So much about feng shui has to do with good design – be it airflow, water elements or positioning – yet it can often complicate a home’s design. This is when you will need to work with your designers and come to a reasonable compromise that works for both the flow of chi and for you.
Deciding on the best plot of land or property to suit your needs will require multiple visits at different times of day - consider your priorities, make a checklist and pick wisely!
Feel free to get in touch with David at David@exhalegroup.com or +65 6823 1233 for assistance in sourcing your perfect plot and to design and build your dream luxury villa.