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Which Lot to Choose for Your Home


Article by Andi Telker

Photography by Andi Telker

One of the questions I get all the time is about choosing the right lot when building a house—everything from how to identify lot type based on grading, the pros and cons of each, and cost differences.

A lot of this (no pun intended) is from my eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Building Your First Home. If you want to learn more about the building process, you can download a copy here, or you can shoot me a DM on Instagram. I would love to help you!

How to Choose the Right Lot When Building a House

When choosing a lot to build your home on, one of the biggest considerations is lot type. There are three lot types to choose from: walkout, daylight/walkup and standard.

Here is a breakdown of each. 

Walkout Lot

A walkout lot slopes from front to back, down and away from the street. This slope exposes the basement wall, which allows you to install an exterior door and a number of above-grade windows.

Walkout Benefits: 

  • Lots of natural light in the basement
  • Outdoor access from basement level
  • Typically a flat driveway

Walkout Drawbacks:

  • Most expensive style to build
  • Requires a main-level deck with steps to access the backyard
  • Easier for teenagers to sneak friends inside without you noticing 

Daylight Lot

A daylight lot has a gradual slope from front to back, similar to a walkout lot, but not as steep.

Optional: Daylight lots can sometimes be configured into a “walkup” lot. In this arrangement, the builder will dig out a section in the rear, pour a pad, and install a walkout door and drain.

Daylight Benefits:

  • More natural light in the basement than a standard lot
  • Typically a flat driveway
  • No basement exit to secure or worry about (no sneaky teenager parties)

Daylight Drawbacks

  • More expensive than a flat lot
  • Still requires a deck with steps to access the backyard

Standard Lot

Standard lots are generally flat lots, although they can sometimes have a small slope in either direction.

Standard Lot Benefits:

  • Typically the least expensive to style to build
  • Back patio or deck is at the same level as the main level.
  • Homeowners generally get more use and enjoyment out of their backyard with standard lots without the need to walk down steps to access it.

Standard Lot Drawbacks:

  • House may “sit up” more, which means you could have a steeper driveway or more steps leading into the house from the garage
  • Basement will have little natural light unless you add a lot of egress windows