There are many reasons to build a new home rather than buy a used one. You have the opportunity to fill four walls with a design you love, including your ideal kitchen and master bedroom.
But it’s not just about the design. There are also the finances, the contractors, and more. If you’re thinking about building a home, you need to consider several other factors.
1. People on Your Team
If you have the right people on your team, half the battle is already won. Building a solid team is especially worthwhile if you’re a first-time builder.
You need people who will explain things clearly to you, do their homework before locking in a decision, and help you envision your dream home. Start with a good real estate agent.
A solid agent can help you find the perfect plot of land and connect you with good builders. He or she will show you the design styles of various builders in your area and make personal recommendations.
Then hire your builder. It’s essential to like the builder’s design style, but you should also look at workmanship, client satisfaction ratings, communication styles, and timelines. Each of these metrics will support a good building experience, and if you do your homework first, you’re more likely to have a good experience.
2. Design Metrics
You should consider a variety of vital design metrics before you dive into the building process.
- Space Planning: Convenience is crucial. In your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry rooms, design functional space with adequate distances between counters and a clear flow. Include ample storage, sufficiently large rooms, wide-enough hallways, good ceiling heights, and other elements of savvy space planning.
- Plumbing and Electrical: It’s cheaper to build a house if you factor in the plumbing lines and wiring. For example, a laundry room works well on the same wall as a bathroom so you don’t have to run extra plumbing. Speak with the builder about efficient plumbing and wiring specifications.
- Quality Over Quantity: Don’t base everything you purchase on the price tag. Usually, you pay for what you get in building materials. It might be worthwhile to pay a little extra for a better HVAC system, roofing, siding, flooring, and other home features. This could save you a lot in maintenance and repair costs in the future.
If the idea of digging into these little design details intimidates you, hire an interior designer to handle them.
3. Which Way It Faces
The type of natural lighting you enjoy, the size of your utility bills, and the view from the street will all depend on the direction your house faces. A structure that looks north or south will usually have lower utility bills and less direct sunlight than a house that faces west or east.
If you live on a street that will have you facing east or west, try to slant your home somewhat so it gets less direct sunlight. In addition, think about what the home will look like from the street. You might not want your garage to be the focal point. A longer, curved driveway can transform the view.
4. The Interior Focal Points
Which room is most important to you? If you’re like most homebuilders, you’ll concentrate on the kitchen and bathrooms more than the bedrooms. The living areas are also crucial.
Consider their location, layout, defining features, and internal structures. Everything should harmonize and point to your favorite parts of the house.
If you do an open floor plan, the kitchen, dining, and main living areas will be the focal point of the home. Furniture placement will also play a role. Plan these details ahead of time to make sure they end up meeting your expectations.
5. Zoning Rules
Talk to the city about zoning laws and regulations before you commit to a building plan. They might have rules about building a deck on the property or the height of the structure. A good contractor will clear the zoning regulations before building, but it’s nice if you know what will happen ahead of time to help with your plans.
6. Mistakes Will Happen
There’s little you can do to prevent accidents and mistakes ahead of time, so be prepared for their arrival. Talk with your contractor about his or her policy for correcting mistakes so you don’t get stuck with an error you can’t live with.
In some cases, you might be able to turn a mistake into a happy accident. For example, if a contractor accidentally slants the ceiling in your spare bedroom instead of keeping it flat, you could add decorative beams and give the room more visual interest.
7. Communicate Clearly
The best way to avoid mistakes and get the most out of your house is simply to communicate, fully and often. Use calling, texting, email, and other preferred contact methods to stay up to date with your contractor(s).
Try to be considerate of the contractor’s methods, and don’t introduce huge changes in the final phases. It’s essential that you get what you want, but it’s better to plan the process carefully in advance so as to avoid the necessity for major reconstruction later on.