Perhaps the biggest advantage to building a custom home is that the design and construction are done to your precise specifications. Along with determining a budget, building a custom home requires considering these five factors: design, location, energy efficiency, local requirements and long-term livability. Working out these factors in advance can help ensure that the home you build is truly your dream home.
As the homeowner, you have the right to ensure that the design of your house meets the needs of your household as well as your personal preferences. However, unless you are a professional architect, contractor, designer—or some combination of the three—you should leave the specifics to the professionals. Have an architect translate your list of must-haves and wish list items into a physical design that a contractor and designer can bring into existence. Finding pre-drawn plans that fit your specifications is a less expensive alternative to hiring an architect, but the tradeoff is less flexibility for alternations.
You may have your heart set on building in a specific neighborhood. If so, ensure that the lot is large enough for the home you wish to build along with any additional structures, such as a pool, garage or outdoor patio. If you haven’t made a final determination for location, take an assessment of the way you live. Do you want to be near a downtown urban area or do you prefer the tranquility of a suburban setting? The most beautiful home in the world will never truly be a dream home if it is built in a location that doesn’t provide what you want and need.
Features such as kitchen islands and double vanity sinks add significantly to a home’s convenience and value. However, such features should take a back seat to the building itself. Don’t skimp on features such as insulation, windows and doors. Investment in a well-designed heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) system, energy-efficient appliances and water-saving plumbing and fixtures is money well spent.
Local Codes, Regulations and Laws
Failure to adhere to local codes and regulations can cause your new home construction to be shut down mid-project. Educate yourself on applicable laws and any homeowner’s association requirements before beginning a building project. Ensure that your contractor has obtained the proper permits before construction begins.
Aging in Place
Once you’ve constructed your dream home, you’ll probably plan to live there for years, if not decades. Aging in place refers to the ability to remain in one’s home into old age. Features such as wide hallways and doorways and a lack of stairs or stairs that can accommodate an automatic lift make it easier to make necessary modifications to your home as you grow older. Proximity to public transportation and other amenities also makes aging in place possible.