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Building a home involves countless decisions and many hours of planning and hard work. But, in the end, building the home of your dreams can accomplish everything you've ever wanted in a home. If you're ready to dive into building your dream home, consider a few of these mistakes homeowners wish they hadn't made.
This article at a glance:
Deciding to be your own contractor.
Rushing Through Designing the Layout
Skimping on Storage
There are countless resources available for DIY-ing projects in your home, from lighting installation to cabinet resurfacing to outdoor entertainment improvements. But when it comes to building a home, being your own contractor might be the biggest mistake you make. Of course you must consider your level of experience, but don’t forget to think about the time commitment required to take on every part of the plan-design-build-finish process. What’s more, professional contractors have extensive resources in terms of drafters, subcontractors, suppliers, inspectors, and designers. Their expertise and commitment to your build is almost always worth it. Even if the cost seems to weigh in favor of going it on your own, there’s a good chance you’ll end up either paying the same amount (or more) in contractors and supplies, or removing some of your Must-Haves in order to offset the cost, only to really miss them later.
If you’re worried about choosing the wrong contactor, you’re not alone! See below for more on choosing the right homebuilder.
If you’re designing your home from scratch or personalizing an existing home plan, don’t rush this part of the process. Every room in your home should be in the perfect location for your family's lifestyle. Think about design and functionality. Sight lines, ease of access, visual appeal, and the frequency of use in each area of the home should be considered. This goes beyond square footage. For example, creating open sight lines from the front door to the back deck can make the home appear much larger than it is.
Most importantly, make sure your home plan fits your lifestyle. Do you have young (read: loud but also need supervision) children? Carefully determine the location of their bedrooms and playroom in relation to the kitchen or other area you spend a lot of time. If you work from home, how close do you want your master suite to be to the home office? A productive day may just be as simple as adding some distance between your work space and the oh-so-cozy living room couch. Placing your office next to the walk-out basement door might be perfect for your home business. The right designer and draftsman will think of a lot of things you may miss during this stage of planning.
Without a doubt, storage (or the lack of) is one of the most regretted plan and design oversights reported by new homeowners. And this comes from a combination of two modern trends: open concept floor plans and minimalist lifestyles. Older, more traditional home plans were defined by separate spaces and extensive built-in storage. An abundance of furniture also allowed for greater storage capacity. Newer homes are often defined by simple, clean lines, open concept spaces, and fewers storage areas. Secondly, the minimalist-driven culture pushes for less stuff. This is great in theory, and even in practice, for many reasons, but a consequence of this philosophy is an amount of storage that is not equipped for even a moderate amount of belongings. Of course, that’s not to say open concept layouts and simplistic lifestyles aren’t of great benefit! But homeowners should keep this in mind when determining the right amount of storage.
We recommend thinking not only in terms of the amount of storage (often you’ll fill up whatever space you have, even with unnecessary things!), but more importantly the placement of your storage spaces. For more on home storage tips, see the section on home organization here. And remember, just like any other design choice, don’t worry so much about what the Joneses are doing (or the Gainses, or Kwondos, for that matter). Consider your family and what selections will make your home functional, welcoming, and livable.
Many people spend more time planning for a wedding than planning their home. Pinterest boards are helpful for design inspiration, but be sure to think primarily about the structural layout of the home. The best way to do this? First, meet with a knowledgeable builder. And second, really imagine yourself in the home. What elements will make your daily life less stressful and more enjoyable? What will make you happy to come home at the end of a long day? What will make a house a home for your family? When you discover that, build it.