Designing Your Home
This is the fun part! What do you want and need out of your new home? Where do you want to live? What features do you want to include in your home? What are the most important things that you must have? Here's where we explore your options:
1. SELECTING A LOT
The first step of the building process begins with finding a piece of land on which to build. You know where you want to live; you have done your homework on different neighborhoods—now it’s time to select the lot for your new home. Your first impression of the lot is a good indicator of how comfortable you will be with it after your house is built. If it “feels right” it will probably feel right in the future too.
There are still many “ifs” that should be considered when selecting a lot. Here are a few things you should consider:
- Size: Is the size of the lot sufficient to accommodate the house you’re planning to build? If a lot is small compared to your house size it can destroy the livability and value of your home.
- Shape: A lot may have sufficient square footage, but its shape may make some of it unusable. For example, if you’re planning on building a sprawling ranch, a larger square or triangular lot might actually provide less usable space than a smaller rectangular one.
- Slope: A steep slope or odd grade can rob space. Would an unfavorable slope force you to raise your house to accommodate your desired basement garage?
- Water: If you don’t have city water, check with neighbors on either side to determine the depth of their wells and the gallons per minute their wells generate. There’s a possibility you would need a treatment system. Speaking with neighbors might not guarantee how deep your wells will be, but it could provide a good indication on depth.
- Septic: If there’s no city sewer, find out if the land has been perk-tested and if so find out what kind of septic system will be required.
- Zoning/Easements/Convenants: Check all of them for your lot. They can be either great protection or frustrating obstacles. Check set-back requirements, access easements/rights others may have that will affect your lot and other covenant stipulations.
2. SELECTING THE HOUSE STYLE
So you’ve found the perfect neighborhood and the perfect home site, now it’s time to actually build your dream home. The next step is selecting the style of your new home.
Friends and relatives will be quick to offer an opinion on which style to choose, but it’s important you choose a style in which your family will be most comfortable.
Here is a list of guidelines that have proved quite helpful to buyers who are building their dream home and those who are building primarily for an investment.
- Determine the resale importance of your home. If you’re building a starter home or building primarily as an investment, your first consideration is to choose what appeals to the majority of homebuyers. For instance, a three bedroom home generally sells easier than a two-bedroom home. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, check the norm for the neighborhood.
- Check the style of homes in the neighborhood. You might love modern, but if the majority of the homes are traditional, you might find yourself out of place in your own neighborhood. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling and it is generally bad for resale.
- Consider your lot. If it’s a hillside lot or has steep grade, consider using a split-level design. It will cut down on excavation and maximize the appearance of your home.
- If you’re looking for a home that you can build onto over the years, a two-story or Cape Cod style are probably your best options. You can build out on one or both sides and normally it looks great, inside and out. A ranch style is generally harder to build on to. You cannot expand easily on either side because it needs to be a “L” shape.
- The least expensive way to expand your living area is to finish a basement. The bi-level home is one of the easiest to expand without changing the home from the outside.
- In general, two story homes cost less per square foot to build because they maximize the cost of excavating the lot and the building of the roof. Two-stories are also generally more energy-efficient as well.
- Ranch styles are great for convenience. Certain ranch styles offer great benefits in privacy—you can have bedrooms at opposite ends of the home. This layout is a wonderful option for families with teenage children or if a parent comes to move in with you.
One final guideline to keep in mind and our best piece of advice is to simply follow your heart. It’s generally a much better indicator than all of the analysis you might do. Building a home is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do!
3. DESIGNING THE DETAILS
Once you have your house style picked out and your floor plan finalized, it's time to choose the details that will make your home unique and reflect your tastes. These details might include:
- Exterior siding
- Shingles and roofing
- Stone and brick
- Porches and decks
- Lighting fixtures
- Much more
Making all these choices can seem a bit overwhelming, but at Vision Homes we strive to make it an exciting, enjoyable process. We walk you through a simple worksheet, share our included options, listen to your needs and desires, and help you make the right choices to create a beautiful, unique home inside and out.