Apr 20 2009
Building a new home can be exciting and fun. There is no doubt you’ll be looking forward to moving into your new home. And once you are there, you’ll be excited and enthusiastic about decorating it, showing it to your friends, etc. These are all wonderful things to look forward to unless you end up with a home you don’t really like and features you do not want. Even worse, you could end up with a home that is missing some of the things you’ve always wanted. Keeping this in mind, be aware that it is very important that you carefully choose and decide exactly what you want with your new home. Know what you want before you buy. When you find a plan you think you really like take some time to consider it carefully reviewing its design aspects and checking to be sure the layout and features satisfy your family’s needs and lifestyle. Taking the time to decide what you want up front will ensure your satisfaction when construction is complete. Below are some of the most important things to consider when buying a house plan.
Home Site: Many times, the site or lot will influence other decisions you make about your house plan including whether it is one or two stories, has a walkout basement or if it must have a narrow footprint. For example, if your lot is small and slopes to the front or side, you made need to find a plan with a drive under garage. Similarly, having a large lot to work with makes way for a sprawling ranch design instead of a space-saving two-story home.
Foundation: Depending on where you plan to build may determine what type of foundation you must use. For example, coastal areas generally require a pier foundation protecting your home from the rising tides. However, if you can choose your foundation type, it is best to familiarize yourself with the various foundation types: basement, crawl space, slab, pier, and walkout basement. If you are able to build on a basement foundation, consider its many advantages such as extra storage space and an opportunity for future finished living area. If you have a sloping lot, consider the walkout basement offering convenience and easy access to the back or side yard.
Style: Choose an architectural style that reflects your personal tastes and preferences. Then consider whether it blends well with the other homes in the neighborhood or will if it will look out of place. What home style will hold the best value in your neighborhood? Does the exterior style match the interior style you prefer? Will it work well with your furnishings and decorating tastes?
Number of Levels: In most cases the number of levels you choose is a personal choice. Some people prefer all the common living areas on the first floor with all of the bedrooms situated upstairs for privacy. Also with a two-story, you can add a considerable amount of square footage on the second floor while spending less on materials than you would for a single level home of the same square footage. One-story living is better suited for those who wish to eliminate climbing the stairs every day, an advantage for those looking ahead to their golden years.
Bedrooms: Consider the present size of your family and whether or not your family will change and grow over the years. Do you plan on having more children in a couple of years? Are your older children ready to move out on their own? Do you have frequent overnight guests that would benefit from a guest suite? Do you have plans to convert a bedroom into an office once the kids move a way? Also think about yourself. Master suites are a hot new trend in home design offering generous His and Her walk-in closets and large private baths with all the amenities such as a whirlpool tub, separate shower, compartmented toilet, dual vanities and more. What special amenities do you need in your master bedroom? Will a single walk-in closet and simple bath with one sink, a shower and toilet satisfy your needs? Consider the bedroom layout. Do you prefer split bedrooms or a design with bedrooms clustered together? Do you want a first floor master bedroom with the secondary bedrooms upstairs?
Bathrooms: The arrangement of your bedrooms and the number of levels you have may influence the number of baths you want in your home. With a two-story home, will a half bath due on the first level, or do you want a full bath? What kind of master bath do you envision? Will the secondary bedrooms share a hall bath? Will it be a compartmented design? Will it have dual sinks for efficiency? Do you prefer a private bath in one of the secondary bedrooms so it can be used for guests? If you build your home on a basement foundation, do you want a full bath downstairs or will the rough-ins work for now with the possibility of finishing it later? What other special baths to you need? A half bath in the mudroom, a pool bath, a full bath in the garage?
Floor Plan Functionality: When you look at floor plans, think about your family’s lifestyle and your daily activities. Think about how the floor plan will accommodate your needs. Is it important to have the dining room next to the kitchen allowing you to serve meals with ease? Should the garage enter near the kitchen making it easy to unload groceries? Do you want an open floor plan? Are all the bedrooms close enough to a bathroom? Pay attention to the layout of the rooms and the room sizes. Will you be able to arrange your furniture in a functional and comfortable manner? Will your dining set and china cabinet fit in the dining room? Use a tape measure to measure your furniture pieces and the rooms they are in currently. Compare room sizes to the new floor plan and evaluate if the new spaces will work for your furniture and for you.
Kitchen Layout: The kitchen is the heart of the home for many families. So, choose a floor plan with a kitchen design that is large enough to accommodate your needs and offers the features you love. Sometimes the builder may be able to further enhance your kitchen by adding special features such as a snack bar or meal-prep island if space allows.
Special Rooms and Features: Think about all the things your family needs and the conveniences you want. Make a list and prioritize them. You might not be able to find a floor plan with all the extras you’d like to have in your price range, but if you prioritize your needs and wants it will make it easier to determine what floor plan will work best for you. Do you want a dedicated laundry room? Should it be on the first or second floor? Do you need a den/home office? Will a playroom accommodate the kids and offer storage for all their games and toys? Do you entertain often and wish to have a wet bar? Can a special room serve multiple purposes such as using the home office as a hobby room too? Be sure to decide which special features and rooms you must have and which ones you are willing to sacrifice?
Considering these points carefully will help ensure you are choosing a house plan that is well suited for your family.