Block or House First?

Should you choose the block, or decide on a house design first?

Cheaper Land

Well my preference has been to build on suburban blocks so we are close to shops, cafes, recreational facilities and public transport.

Blocks in these areas are relatively small so I’ve started by either sketching up the house I would like to build, or selecting a plan.

I then look for a block with good orientation that the house would fit on.

It means that I don’t even go and look at blocks that won’t fit my ideal house.

This has stopped me getting frustrated and have to start looking at a different house to fit an odd shaped block that I’ve set my heart on.

Expensive Land

With blocks getting smaller, and more expensive your approach may have to be varied.

Currently the price of the land close to cities is usually more expensive than building costs. This even applies to suburbs 40km or more from the CBD.

In can makes sense to divide your budget by two and see what size block you can get in an area you want to live in.

You are then able to look for designs that fit that size of block.

If you can’t find a block big enough for a single storey house of a size you want at an affordable price you may have to start looking for designs for a smaller house or a 2 storey house.

Rural Blocks

Of course if you want a rural or semi rural block rather than a suburban block the overall size of the block means that you can fit most houses on the block without any problem.

It therefore makes sense if you are in this market to look for blocks early.

You can then look to choose a house that makes the best use of the site.

These larger blocks do give you more choice with the house design because the additional space means that you can move away from the typical rectangular houses to square houses, courtyard layouts, or even round houses.

With these big blocks I have heard it said that you should move a caravan onto the site for a few nights or even camp there before you decide where on the block you will site the house.

That seems like a great idea to me!

For similar posts about buying Land see Blocks



  1. Austen

    My humble opinion is to pick your “ideal” block first and then design your home to suit.

    Of course, you should have a general idea of the house you want, if you want a wide ranch style home it’s no good buying a 10m wide block !

    But (generally) land is scarce, we spent a couple of years looking for our “perfect” block, and bought it without hesitation when we found it.

    Now we have our perfect block we can design the perfect house for our block.

    Given there is so much more flexibility in designing a house compared to buying a block of land I feel that the land must come first.

    When you have the block (as an example) 20 meters wide, you can then design a house to suit that block.

    On the other hand, if you spend a year and many hundreds of dollars with an architect designing your “perfect” house that was 20.5m wide what do you do when the choice becomes a “perfect” block, but is only 20m wide, or an OK block that is 21 m wide ?

    You can change the house-plan dimensions, but you cannot change the block dimensions !

    My thoughts !!

    1. Brian Ashworth (Post author)

      Some good points Austen.

      One approach doesn’t fit everyone, you seem to have made the right decision for yourself.


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