There are many things people think about when buying a new home. How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? What’s the storage situation? How old is the roof? How walkable is the neighborhood?
But not everyone gives thought to what direction the home is facing. And while home orientation isn’t as likely to be a dealbreaker as something like the lack of a second bathroom or a dilapidated roof, it can definitely have an impact on your bills and your quality of life.
Consider the Heat
You’ll often read in design and architecture magazines that most Americans prefer south-facing homes. This, of course, is related to the fact that most Americans don’t live in Florida. In Minnesota, say, a south-facing home will absorb more heat from direct sunlight in the wintertime, keeping heating costs to a minimum.
Around here, that’s less of a concern. Minimizing heat exposure during the summer months is much pertinent. Since most homes are designed with more windows in the front than in the back, this means that northern-facing houses tend to absorb less heat from sunlight than those that are southern facing, keeping cooler overall.
If your home does face south (or if your home has a lot of windows on the south side), there are creative ways for dealing with this. Porches and overhangs can help to block excess light, as well as shade trees planted on that side. Curtains with reflective outside surfaces can also reduce heat. And for those who are into home automation, smart blinds will actually open and close themselves, angling to let in or block light depending on the temperature, weather, and time of day.
Consider the Light
Natural light can be a benefit or a hassle, depending on the room its in and your lifestyle. If your bedroom is at the back of the house and you’re a morning person (or would like to be), a west-facing house means you wake up to the eastern sunrise, while the living room at the front of the home is brighter during the afternoon and early evening.
Or perhaps you hate being woken up before 9:00. An eastern- or southern-facing home would keep your bedroom comfortably shaded until after midday. If you spend a lot of time in a particular room looking at a screen—whether computer or television—and want to reduce glare, it make the most sense to keep that room on the northern side of the house.
While less common, orientation is also a key factor for people who plan to install active or passive solar in their new home. And for avid gardeners, southern or western exposure in the area to be planted can be a key consideration.
Consider the Wind
People with allergies may rely exclusively on air conditioning to keep their home temperate, but most people will want to open up their windows for at least part of the year and take advantage of the breeze. In general, the front and back of a house will have more windows, with fewer on the sides. With summer breezes generally blowing east or southeast in southwest Florida, a western or northwestern orientation is most likely to offer a breath of fresh air.
Consider the View
All that being said, if you’ve got a fantastic view available, you want to be able to enjoy it as much as possible. There is nothing better than sitting in your own living room in the company of friends with a beautiful scene laid out just outside the window. For some folks, that view is more important than any electric bill or other inconvenience.
Think about that room where you spend the majority of your time. Maybe it’s your kitchen or your home office. Maybe it’s a formal living room or a casual den. Maybe it’s a screened-in porch. Whatever room that is, you want it to be the most pleasant place in the house. If it’s facing a blank wall or a smelly dumpster, it’s going to bother you. Sometimes the best orientation comes down to aesthetics, and that is a 100% valid decision.
Is Home Orientation Important?
Absolutely, but not in a way that implies cookie-cutter answers. Each person has individual needs, inclinations, and desires, and there is a home (and a home orientation) that is exactly right for them. If you think that the perfect home for you might be here in Cape Coral, SC Homes can help. Talk to us today— we can find it together.