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Choosing a Home Plan that is Right for You - Part I

The time has come to build a new house. Now is your chance to pick and choose the elements and features you really want in your new home. All of our past living experiences mold our opinions and desires for the "next house" we live in or build. Some of us can readily make a list of all the things we want while others may draw a blank. Below is a list of tips and questions to help you come up with a good idea of what you want in your new home. As you read through the list, put your thoughts on paper and prioritize them. Start by thinking about the big picture.

The Big Picture

Size
Think in terms of usable space. A higher square footage does not always mean all of the space is usable. Rooms with odd designs and angles can make it difficult to arrange furniture along or near walls leaving that strangely angled corner to be nothing but wasted space. In a similar manner, think about furniture placement and how it will affect the overall atmosphere of the rooms in your home. Large, bulky furniture in a small room results in a cramped space. Occasionally, volume ceilings can remedy this situation. They can offer a sense of spaciousness when square footage cannot.

Open Space
An open floor plan is perfect for those who are active and have busy schedules. It allows traffic and activities to flow easily and conversations to carry from one room to the next. An open floor plan offers a large gathering area for families to function as a group. However, if you enjoy peace and quite from time to time, you may consider a secluded space such as a den or office away from the busy living areas.

Functionality
If your current home functions perfectly, you may have nothing to worry about. But, if you find yourself saying, "It would be nice to have…," think about what elements would make your home function better. Perhaps you would like to host large family gatherings, but do not have the space in your current home. Do you know what kind of features and spaces you want in your new home to make get-togethers possible? Would a serving bar in the kitchen or a wet bar in the family room make things easier? Maybe you wish your parents could visit more often. Does a guest bedroom make sense? Are your children's toys strewn all over the house? Consider a playroom.

Lifestyle
Your lifestyle may dictate some of the elements you choose for your new home. Do you have children or plan to have children? This will indicate how many bedrooms you will need. Do you host formal dinners? Consider a formal dining room in addition to the eat-in kitchen. If you enjoy the outdoors, maybe you would like a covered patio or porch. If you are a chef in the making, chances are you will want a full-featured kitchen.

Positioning
It is possible that you have already purchased your lot or are considering a lot because you love the breath taking views it offers. Maybe you want to position your home so the great room overlooks a lake in the valley. Would large windows or a deck maximize the view? Do you plan to have a vegetable garden? It may make sense to have the garage on one side of the lot and use the sunny side yard for the garden. Remember to consider the location of neighboring houses and nearby roadways. Do you want your neighbors to see everything going on in your kitchen from their office window? Do you want headlights shining through the living room window every night? Remember to take advantage of natural elements such as the morning sun warming your breakfast nook or a row of trees that can serve as a privacy fence. Are there any views you should avoid? Thinking about all of these elements will help you select the best position for your home on the lot ensuring continued enjoyment in the years to come.

When searching for the perfect house plan, planning and prioritizing are necessary steps to narrow down your needs and wants. Keep these criteria in mind when choosing your new home plan. They will help you reach your goals.

For additional information read Selecting a House Plan and Choosing a Home Plan that is Right for You - Part II.

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