After a lot of consideration, you’ve decided you want to build a home rather than buy an existing one. It’s a decision that a lot of people make, either because they like the idea of having a brand new house that’s customized just for them or because they couldn’t find an existing home that met their needs. It’s an exciting time, going over plans with your architect and contractor, and choosing light fixtures, tile, and paint colors. Before you finalize your plans, though, there are a few things you should consider. See below for some tips that people who are thinking of building their first home should think about.
Think about both your current and future housing needs.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of building a new house and forget to plan properly. If you’re thinking of starting a family or having additional children, for example, you will want to make sure that your new home includes enough bedrooms and bathrooms, and has a large enough kitchen and family room to accommodate your needs. If you entertain frequently or have overnight guests often, you might want to think about adding an additional guest room with an en suite bathroom. People with older children who will be leaving for college in a few years might not need that game room like they originally thought.
A good architect or builder can help you figure out what you really need, preventing you from paying for features or rooms you don’t need or won’t use, as well as keeping you from having to move in a few years because you have outgrown your new house.
According to the Oz architecture firm, an award-winning firm based in Colorado, “We specialize in helping our clients design elegant, timeless solutions that mature gracefully and make a lasting contribution to our communities.”
Plan your space carefully.
Planning how you will use the space in your new home is just as important as having enough of it. You should think through features like storage and plan to create them to fit your lifestyle. Do you really need a walk-in closet in your bedroom if half of it will very likely remain empty? Would it make sense to add a coat closet in the front hallway? Or maybe adding a mudroom would be a better option if you live in a cold climate?
Planning out the space in rooms that are used frequently, like the kitchen, is also essential. If you enjoy cooking, maybe adding some extra counter space and more cabinets to store pots and pans and small appliances is a good idea. Expanding the family room might make a lot of sense if you have a large family or if you host Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations every year.
Think about the placement of rooms and features like electrical outlets.
Where you decide to place certain rooms and features in your home can be as important as having them. If you live in a place where it rains frequently, for example, you might want to make sure you plan for an attached garage so you can avoid getting soaked why you bring in the groceries. Bedrooms should be placed as far away from a noisy street as possible. A room that will be used as a home office should have ample electrical outlets and lighting suitable for working.
The placement of a feature like the laundry room should fit your lifestyle. Some people prefer to have their laundry room in the basement where it’s out of sight, while others want their laundry room to be as close to their bedrooms or bathroom as possible to reduce the amount of effort it takes to get their laundry from one place to another.
Don’t let your architect or builder tell you what you need.
As much as they might mean well, your builder or architect shouldn’t have the final say when it comes to deciding what features or rooms should be included in your new home. It’s fine for them to make suggestions, of course — after all, they have a lot more experience building homes than you do — but you shouldn’t feel as if you have to say yes to everything your builder or architect wants to include in your home. It’s also OK for you to ask for features they might not suggest. Keep in mind, too, that you and your family are the ones who will be living in the house for years to come, so it’s important for you to speak up about what your needs are.