by Bailey Nance | photos by Graham Photography

The Importance of Knowing Your Lot Before You Buy

After months of talking with family and looking at homes online, you’ve finally decided to take the leap. You’re going to build a new home this year – your dream home.


Walking your potential lot with a builder is an easy process that could save you thousands of dollars over the course of construction. By taking a lot walk, your builder will tell you about any special site conditions, setbacks, drainage issues, easements and what the ideal home placement can be. Whether you’ve started designing your home already or not, this is a great opportunity to visualize your build on the lot for the first time.

“When going on a lot walk, the first thing I ask a potential client is what they’re looking for and see if the lot matches those requirements. Do you want a three-car garage or a side load? What solar orientation are you looking for in certain rooms? I always try to give potential clients recommendations on their criteria,” says Matt Huffman, President of Old Town Design Group.

Even when building your dream home in custom communities like Holliday Farms or Sunrise on the Monon, lot walks are still beneficial. This allows your builder to better understand what they will be working with during construction.

“Aside from flat lots, all lots have classifications such as lookout, walkout and forced walkout. These classifications have their own unique formations and potential difficulties. Being able to understand everything a lot can offer, as well as any limitations, is important during the design process,” Huffman says.

By scheduling a lot walk with your builder, not only can you ensure that the lot will meet your home design needs, but this will also help you to better understand unique costs associated with building. This can be especially true if you are building on a lot that’s not in a traditional subdivision.

For instance, when building on your own lot or an outlot, there are factors such as well and septic placement to consider, which often require soil tests to determine septic field size. There could also be additional costs for the driveway, road entrance or special drainage requirements.

How to Best Prepare for Your Lot Walk:

  • Secure the plat from the developer or builder
  • Be aware of any preliminary classifications on the lot, like walkout or lookout
  • If you don’t already own the lot, have a few other lots in mind in case there are unexpected site conditions
  • Think of non-negotiable design aspects of the home like whether you want a walkout basement, garage location, etc.
  • Consider features on the lot that you may want to keep like specific trees or topography
  • Find potential views you want to keep visible when thinking through the orientation and final design of your home
  • Review the Abbreviated Covenants of the community, if applicable

At Old Town Design Group, partnering with clients is of the utmost importance. By offering complimentary comprehensive lot walks, they strive to design each home to the specific lot, with the best possible views and placement for their homeowners. Learn more about building with Old Town Design Group by visiting!