Building your new house can be both an exciting experience and a nerve-wracking one. Because you have to make every decision by yourself, the process can be daunting. When you start to consider building a new home, many questions may arise. Where will you build? How do you know whether a neighborhood will be safe? What is involved in the design process? And, of course, how much will it all cost?
Getting from the idea stage to a fully built, move-in ready, furnished house is a major undertaking. However, building your own home from the ground up can be a rewarding experience; you have an opportunity to design it according to your tastes and needs. Here we suggest a few things to consider before you jump into the building process.
Table of Contents:
1. Choice of Location
Your first priority is to choose a suitable location for your new home. Once your home is built, you can change the interior anytime you want—but you can’t just pick up the house and move it to a new lot.
Consider the places you visit often, such as your workplace, schools, grocery stores, convenience stores, parks, salons, gyms, and stops for public transportation.
Another factor to keep in mind is that the specific location you will choose will have a significant impact on the value of your property in the future. If you choose to sell, the neighborhood will greatly influence your maximum asking price.
The location will also affect your potential income if you choose to rent out your house at some point. Consider the neighborhood’s potential appeal to renters—convenience, transportation, and proximity to large local businesses, for example. Earning money by renting out your house can be a complex process, so reach out to a real estate investment company like Gray Capital. This will help to ensure that you earn a profit from your house.
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2. Size of the Budget
Building a house requires a significant amount of money. In fact, the process is likely to cost you more than you expect. That is because you will come across a number of materials or services that are not included in your original estimate. Even though you will work out a plan with the builder, there will be some expenses that are not included or upgrades and changes you make along the way. Consider furniture, window coverings, and cable hookups, for example.
Major categories in your budget will include the land price, taxes, loan settlement costs, planning fees, finishing costs, and build costs. You will also need to budget for unexpected circumstances. For instance, you might want to change some of your previous design decisions if the reality doesn’t match your expectations.
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3. Interior Design
Don’t underestimate the importance of your home’s interior design. You will spend a great deal of time inside your home, so give careful consideration to things like layout. Should the children’s bedroom be next to the owner’s suite, or down the hall? Would it be more convenient to have the laundry room near the bedrooms where clothes are stored, or in the living room where you usually fold them?
Think through the amount of storage you’ll need, how much furniture will be required to appropriately fill a space, where guests will gather, and how high you’d like the ceilings to be. Visualize your daily routines, looking for any inconveniences or opportunities it may reveal.
Lighting is another essential element of your home’s interior; it can make the difference between a harsh, cold room and a cozy, inviting one. Layering your lighting—ceiling fixtures, recessed lighting, sconces, accent lighting, and task lighting all have something to offer, and using multiple types allows you to mix and match to create the mood you want.
Other important decisions for your home’s interior include the selection of trim and finishes. Painted or stained? Brushed nickel, brass, oil-rubbed bronze, or stainless steel? You can change these elements later, but it is an expensive and labor-intensive process to update all the hardware and trim in your house. Be sure to consider the trends and the classics and make a decision you won’t regret in two years.
4. Floor and Ceiling Design
The rooms in your home may have four walls, but there are six sides to any space, and the floor and ceiling can make a big difference in the appearance and practicality of your home.
Buyers have preferred hardwood floors to carpeting for a number of years now. Wood floors are long-lasting and can be refinished repeatedly to remove surface scratches. They can increase the resale value of your home as well.
Alternatives to hardwood include bamboo, which is eco-friendly and cost-effective, and laminate flooring, which can give you the look of wood with the durability and easy cleaning of vinyl.
Another great option is ceramic tile. Made of hardened clay and resistant to scratches, dents, and moisture, they can stand up to your lifestyle and last a long time. Tiles are also easy to clean and maintain.
One often-neglected surface is your home’s ceiling. White is the standard choice, but even white comes in a wide variety of shades. Other colors, though, can add personality to the space. Consider a light blue tint to evoke the sky, or a darker shade to add drama. Continuing a ceiling color throughout the home helps to pull everything together. Decorative planks or tiles can be unexpected and pleasing additions to the space.
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5. Bathroom and Bedroom Design
Bathrooms can be surprisingly expensive, since they typically contain a lot of built-in features, including showers and/or bathtubs, ventilation, toilets, vanities or countertops, sinks, and faucets. You’ll need good lighting to help you get ready in the morning, and a softer option to help you relax at night.
Bedrooms tend to be simple when unfurnished—a few walls, a window, and a closet may be all you have to start with. Make sure your bedrooms are the right size for the furniture you want to use, giving you enough space to move around. Huge bedrooms can be luxurious, but they can also be a challenge to furnish and decorate, so make sure you have a plan if you want a spacious suite rather than a cozy space.
Make sure the bedroom has an appealing place to put the bed itself. In the owner’s suite, that is likely in the middle of the room with the head against the wall, so be careful that windows and closet doors don’t interrupt that area.
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6. The Kitchen
The kitchen is usually the most expensive room in the house, and for good reason. For most families it is the heart of the home and the place where people are most likely to gather.
Carefully consider your lifestyle as you design the kitchen, along with the long-term impact on resale value (it’s easy to upgrade appliances, but layout is harder to change). Make sure your kitchen has plenty of storage space and room to work.
Before you decide to make your cooking space as large as possible, consider that professional chefs tend to work in smaller areas where everything they need often is within reach. In exchange for a smaller floorspace for cooking, think about adding counterspace and seating allowing more people to gather without crowding the cook.
For most homeowners, there’s no such thing as too much kitchen storage. Think cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, a sizeable pantry with pull-out drawers, and cabinets and drawers on both sides of your island or peninsula.
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Building a home from scratch may be the most time-consuming and expensive project you undertake in your personal life, but it comes with the ultimate payoff: a home that is the perfect expression of your tastes and the perfect fit for your lifestyle. Once you’ve spent some time brainstorming about what you want for your new home, you’ll be ready to reach out and find a builder.