“Buying the wrong lot is such an easy mistake to avoid,” says Bernie Bloemer, of Bernie Bloemer Custom Homes. “Always take your builder with you when you’re looking for a lot. If you haven’t already chosen your builder, but you’ve narrowed the choice down, ask all of them to look at the lot individually.”

If you already have some idea of the kind of home you want then you need to find a lot that fits the home. If you’re downsizing and want to be on one level you need a fairly flat lot or if you need more room and are looking to build a large home with a walk-out basement you need a lot with slope. A builder can steer you away from lots that don’t suit the home you’re envisioning.

Now is a great time to invest in a lot. Many developers are discounting lots in order to move them and you can pick up a great deal but Bernie cautions, “Don’t buy a lot just because the price is good. If it’s the wrong lot, you’ve just wasted your money. If you can’t build the home you want on that lot, you have to put it up for sale. If the lot didn’t sell until the price dropped for you, then chances are unless you’re prepared to sit on it for a while, you won’t be able to sell it for a higher price. And then you’re out the sales commission.”