Building a new home is exciting! Whether it's a lifelong dream coming true, or an endeavor you've embarked on before, there are many things to consider when starting the process.
When you've found that perfect piece of property, spend a little time there and visit the site at different times of the day. Take note of the views, traffic, neighbors, and where the flow of natural light is throughout the day, these should all be considered when you are ready to begin choosing a home plan. Are the neighbors in close proximity? Perhaps you need a plan that would allow a more private backyard patio. Do you have a terrific view that needs to be captured in the areas of the home you spend the most time? Would the bedrooms be where headlights will shine in continually through the night? What are the natural contours of the building lot? What is the building envelope for your lot (setbacks, easements, etc.)?
Next, think about homes you've walked through, and magazines you've looked at. What has really caught your attention to think, "this is really great" or "how nice that would be". Also, consider how you live in your home. Some additional things to think about are:
- Do you entertain? Will you need space to move around? Formal rooms?
- Do you live casually? Does the great room concept fit the way you live?
- Like Contemporary? Look for clean lines and functionality.
- Do you want your home to feel relaxed or outdoorsy? Look for a home plan that will bring the outdoors in.
- Will you be scaling down, or looking for more room?
- Do you want the owners' suite close to or separate from the other bedrooms?
- Hobbies? Do you need your own room or possibly a shop?
- Do you want your utility room close to your kitchen area, or by the bedrooms where you produce the most laundry?
- Budget? If you’re drawn to complicated roof lines and angles, these things can add up if you are trying to maintain a tight budget.
Ok, now it's time to begin looking for that perfect home plan and begin searching through the thousands of house designs available through the web. Sound or appears overwhelming? It really doesn't have to be. Most sites have advance search options which allows you to narrow down the search. Start with overall dimensions, and work your way from there. A bit of advice; think a little beyond your scope. Most pre-designed plans can be modified for example the exterior feel, adding a garage bay, adding or taking out a little width/depth, and changing a foundation are fairly simple changes to create your own perfect home plan.
These days it’s easier than ever to search for home plans. From large plan brokerage sites which carry home plans from designers and architects across the country to individual design firm’s websites such as Associated Designs, the sky is the limit when it comes to searching for home plans. Regardless of where you end up browsing for plans never be afraid to ask questions, and look at the plan package options. If you customize a plan, make sure the changes are being made from the original designer and not outsourced. The original plan designer knows their plan best, and will help consult with the best way to make the changes you are considering as well as offer suggestions and guidance to the requested changes.
Another piece of advice; allow yourself the time to enjoy the process, and breathe. There are many resources and great people to assist you long the way.