North-Facing or South-Facing: Which Orientation Is Better for Your Home?
When buying a home, there are dozens of things that you should consider. Is it the type of home you’re looking for? Is the location just right? Is the property big enough? Is it move-in ready? Does it still need a few repairs? Can you add another room eventually? What does the switch in the upstairs hallway do?
These are the obvious questions that people ask themselves (and their real estate consultants!) when browsing properties, but many prospective homeowners forget to ask for one specific detail. Which direction does the house face?
Due to dramatic differences in regional climate from location to location, ideal home orientation does not have a quick rule of thumb. In other words, the direction your house should face depends largely on where you live.
In Weston, Wellesley, Wayland, and the surrounding towns, the winter days are often very cold and dark. This means that it’s generally preferable to have a south-facing home so that you can take advantage of the sun’s warmth as much as possible.
However, in Texas, a north-facing home may be preferred to keep the hot summer sun out and let the warm winter sun in. In Australia, it would be advantageous to seek a north-facing home if you wanted more warmth throughout the day, as south-facing homes do not get as much sunlight due to Australia’s position on the globe.
The Advantages of a South-Facing Home
In Wellesley, realtors will sometimes suggest a south-facing home, and there are a few specific reasons why.
This makes sense given the towns of Weston, Wellesley and Wayland (as well as the surrounding towns) in which we live where our winter days are darker and colder. Of course south-facing would be preferred. We want the sun to shine into our homes and light as well as warm the house for as long as possible. But in Texas, for example, where the sun shines more and the days are longer and hotter, maybe this is not the case? Perhaps a north-facing house is preferred so that the home stays cooler longer. Sun shining into a house all day in a hot climate can be problematic – not to mention that sun beating down on a house for most of the day can result in significant wear and tear (on the paint especially).
- Many house designs favor more windows on the front than on the back, meaning that south-facing houses in our area typically get more natural sunlight throughout the day.
- During the winter, owners of south-facing homes can keep down heating costs by simply opening the curtains in the front rooms.
- In the summer, the sun will be at a high angle in the sky. This means that south-facing houses will still get a good amount of light, but the direct heat from the sun can be dissipated by a good roofing design, specifically if it uses overhangs in the front.
- Those that want to eventually install solar panels will be in luck, as their roof may be naturally facing the sun for most of the day.
The Advantages of a North-Facing Home
Top real estate agents will tell you that north-facing homes have their own benefits, and depending on your wants, as well as the needs of the house, they could be right.
- Since the face of your home won’t be as exposed to light throughout the day, you won’t need to worry as much about natural wear and tear from the sun on the exterior paint.
- Bedrooms at the back of the house (facing the south) will get plenty of light during the day, and you’ll be able to enjoy evening sunsets better if you have a backyard.
- According to the Vastu Shastra, an ancient doctrine that illustrates the laws of how nature affects human dwellings, north-facing houses draw positive energy into the house, and the resulting positive energy creates healthy vibrations and ensures the prosperity of the inhabitants.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that some people buy their house, never think about which way it faces, and live perfectly happy lives. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend your first morning in your new home blinded by unwanted morning sun that you didn’t expect. Many home buyers download a compass app on their phones so they can determine this for themselves during walkthroughs. Be sure to keep home orientation in mind when asking your real estate broker about a new prospective property.