Some people prefer to build their homes in brand spanking new developments. For them, a fresh start with like-minded neighbors makes sense. But if you’d like to build in an already-established area, you’re looking at infill lots. Infill lots are those spaces left after developments and cities have already been populated. They might be empty lots or spaces left after old structures were removed. For some, infill lots mean access to great locations and an established neighborhood, but there are a few factors to consider. Before planning on an infill lot, decide if the spot is right for you.

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An infill lot could help you snag a better location. Image: Neokitchen

Location, Location, Location

The main draw for most infill lots is the location. These spaces are often in highly-desirable neighborhoods. But don’t make an offer just yet, since that location can come with a price. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The reason for the vacant lot. Have you considered why a lot might be left vacant in a desirable area? Some infill lots are left over because they’re closer to smells, sights and sounds than the rest of the neighborhood. The lot might also have different utility drawbacks than the other lots. Talk to your real estate agent about why the lot is vacant and see if it affects your opinion.
  • Existing amenities. One of the major pros for infill lots is that you’re able to plug into the existing neighborhood amenities. From parks to utilities and even retail, take a look around the neighborhood to see what amenities you would use (and which amenities might be more of a drawback).
  • Pricing factors. Infill lots can either go one of two ways: they can be cheaper because of certain drawbacks, or they can be more expensive because of the established area. With infill lots, you’re not paying for the land as much as you’re paying for the neighborhood and development. Naturally, your real estate agent can help you suss out the details and negotiate the best price possible.
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Other houses may dictate your home’s design. Image: Garman Builders

Development by Design

Because you’d be building a home in an established neighborhood, the design of your dream house is an important factor. Consider these potential issues:

  • The size of the home. Infill lots mean you’re sandwiched between other structures. The last thing you want to do is build a home that towers over or eclipses your neighbors. An infill lot might require you to build a more modest home than you were originally planning.
  • The home’s design. Building a super-modern home in a traditional neighborhood could have your place sticking out like a sore thumb. A talented architect is needed to create a design that feels fresh, but still works harmoniously with the look of the homes in the development.
  • Resale value. Don’t forget to consider resale value when designing a home for an infill lot. Even if you totally disregard the other homes in the area, resale is generally poor in homes that don’t match their surroundings. It’s always better to be the least expensive home in a desirable neighborhood than the most expensive home in a less desirable location. Think about what a potential buyer might see in your home design and how that could affect your resale value.
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Consider your neighbors when building on an infill lot. Image: Think Architecture

Neighborly Love

Choosing an infill lot means moving into a ready-made community – for better or worse. Take your potential neighbors into consideration before making any decisions.

  • Making friends. Consider the fact that some neighbors might not take kindly to infill development. If a lot has remained vacant for years, neighbors may have become accustomed to the extra space. Getting to know your neighbors helps soften the blow of the sudden noise and dust of a construction process.
  • Respecting the rules. It’s important to acknowledge and respect any community rules in place. Whether you’re paying an HOA or there are already community rules and policies set up, choosing an infill lot means becoming part of an existing neighborhood. You’ll be responsible for respecting those rules.

Want a new house but an old neighborhood? You might need to find an infill lot. Infill lots definitely have their benefits, but you’ll need to dig a little deeper before making an offer. By considering why a lot has been left empty and seeing how you’d fit into an existing community, you can picture yourself there.