A Blueprint for Success

What to Consider When Building a Home

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By Audrey Sellers

Building a custom home can be a rewarding and exciting experience. You get to dream up the design and personalize it with brand-spanking-new everything. Move-in ready, you can open the front door and enjoy it from the very beginning — no repairs or remodeling needed.

If you’re dreaming of a new abode, read on for a few tips on what to keep in mind when building a home.

It’s all about location. Location is crucial to valuable real estate. Where you build your home can have significant implications on your life now and when you sell your property. A “good” location can vary from person to person, but generally, you should pay attention to your home’s accessibility to places like grocery stores, schools, and hospitals. Remember that houses close to power lines, busy streets, or that back up to commercial property may be more challenging to sell in the future. On the other hand, homes with a view of the water, a golf course, or trees may make it more appealing.

Understand local laws. When building a house, knowing even small rules and regulations is important. Before any building gets underway, you’ll need things like electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits. In Texas, homebuilding decisions are made by cities and local municipalities, so check in with your city’s local building department or planning office for information on permits. If you have an HOA, check the HOA regulations.

Think about your long-term plans. It’s essential that your new home fit your lifestyle. Will your aging parents move in with you? Do you need plenty of outdoor space for gardening, playing with children or pets, or a pool? What about a hobby you see yourself enjoying in your new home? Envision your life five to 10 years from now and build your home to accommodate that vision.

Be choosy when selecting a home builder. Building a home is a significant investment. Make sure you select an experienced builder who can bring your dream home to life. Conduct a public records search and check out Better Business Bureau rankings. You may also want to look at local “Best Of” lists to find highly respected builders.

Focus on the flow. Building a house from scratch allows you to design a home that fits your lifestyle now and in the future. When finalizing floor plans, make sure rooms with heavy foot traffic — like the kitchen and living room — are easily accessible. For example, place the kitchen close to a convenient entrance to make it easier to haul groceries inside.

Prioritize sustainability. You can make a new construction home as energy-efficient, eco-friendly, and sustainable as possible. Consider things like high-performance windows, drip irrigation systems, or a cool roof designed to reflect more sunlight than a traditional roof. You could also look at alternative building materials like wool insulation, bamboo, and cork flooring.

Building a house may seem like a herculean task, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to create the home of your dreams. With some thoughtful planning, you can enjoy your new home now and for years to come.

Often-Overlooked Items

It’s easy to forget the finer details when building a new house. Here’s a list of some items that may get lost in the homebuilding shuffle.

  • Showerhead height. If you or your family members are over six feet, consider installing a showerhead fitting a little above the standard height. (Most showerheads are placed around 80 inches high.)
  • Recessed bathroom storage. Would you like a recessed shower compartment for your toiletries? Or how about a recessed medicine cabinet behind the bathroom mirror? These small additions can significantly boost your bathroom storage.
  • Laundry room finishes. Consider adding a hanging rack to air dry clothing or an additional sink for laundering swimwear or delicates. You could also add extra counter space for folding clothes or deep shelving for additional storage.
  • Extra materials. Having a stash of leftover paint, wallpaper, tile, and carpet is always helpful. Even if you don’t have enough material to patch things up, you can at least bring a sample to your local hardware or home renovation store to match. Be sure to ask your builder for any leftovers, along with a list of paint colors, selections, and finishes you choose for your home.

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