By Larry Gilland

Read last week's Part 1

6. Setting: The setting of a house is different from the view. A setting should compliment the house. Some factors which determine the setting's efficacy are:

Protective Covenants
Natural landscaping/vegetation
Adjacent Properties/structures (zoning & soil test)
Area Amenities

We've listed Protective Covenants first because it is the protective covenants which aid in controlling the other factors. With good protective covenants, your property's setting will be protected as the future value of the property. When choosing your property, obtain a copy of the protective covenants. The covenants should be rules that you could live with/by and hope that others can/will live with too.

Natural landscaping/vegetation: Look the type and health of the vegetation on the property. How will the construction process affect what you see now? What specifically do you want to save or emphasize. Is there a tree or rock formation that you want to incorporate with the homesite? If there is a negative feature, can it be corrected easily?

Adjacent properties/structures: It’s important to think about the surrounding neighborhood(s) and your future neighbors. If you don't like what you see before you buy the property don't be fooled to think things will improve over time. If the adjacent property is vacant, investigate into the property’s history. Is there a reason that it has not been built on? Acquiring a soil report will give important information about hidden problems. Who owns the property? If they intend to build, how will that structure affect your property's setting and view? What are your rights? How are adjacent properties zoned? Will your view be affected due to the future construction of a factory, a large multi-family housing project, or a highway?

Noises both natural and man made: The most wonderful custom home can become a nightmare if it’s located beneath a major flight path to the airport, sitting next to a railroad switching point, while in close proximity to the area’s largest dog boarding kennels near a major interstate highway. You may prefer the sounds of gentle breezes and a babbling brook or the distant coyote's call on a clear full moon night. Everyone has a different noise requirement to make them happy. I would suggest visiting the prospective home location at various times of the day and night just to check out the noise factors you might have to live with. Checking at various times of the year would be ideal but will usually not be possible. An overzealous neighbor who elects to snow a lawn or snow blow the drive at midnight or 4 am can make your life miserable. These noises, usually, are seasonal.

Smells: Just as noise can affect your living conditions, so can the smells that surround you. If you require space for a horse, this should be a big determining factor for location. However, if your neighbor has horses and you don't like the smells their presence produce, then look for another location with a protective covenant which controls the ownership/presence of horses. Stagnant water ponds or trenches, factories which are “up wind” or pesticides used on the farm land nearby can not only be unpleasant to smell but could produce health hazards as well.

You may notice that the components which affect the setting pertain to the senses. Indeed, those stimuli which stimulate the senses are essential in creating the feedings we have about a house.

We'll wrap discussing Area Amenities & Affordability next week.