Exercising your option to have a custom built home is both a privilege and a challenge. As you go through each step of the process, you’ll be making decisions about complicated issues that will have a long-lasting effect on how enjoyable and functional your next home will be.
Some people find the ideal lot in terms of size, topography and vegetation while others find a floor plan that has all the appeal they’re looking for and provides the functions they need in a custom built home. Others haven’t yet identified their priorities, which is understandable since choices are many and decisions are complicated.
As you go about your search for the right lot and home to go with it, ask these questions of your builder to identify what the priorities are for you and to determine what your secondary goals are for your custom built home.
The Floor Plan
Before you start, discuss what you need with the builder. Typical topics include:
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms you need.
- What you need in terms of a kitchen and dining areas.
- Whether you need formal and informal living spaces.
- How you’ll use the garage.
- The amount of storage you require and the type.
- Whether you plan to age in place.
Each of these considerations makes a difference in the floor plan you need and the size of the home that’s best for you.
People who plan to age in place often look for a single-story floor plan or one with a downstairs master bedroom suite. Families who emphasize eating together often prefer homes with a kitchen nook for informal meals or an eating bar in the kitchen.
Storage space could be in the form of finished closet space that comes at a price premium or unfinished space in the basement. You may not require any formal living spaces, but it may be easier to sell your home later on if you allocate some room that could be used as such.
Once you’ve chosen the right floor plan for you, ask the builder to identify the lot dimensions you need. Municipalities have regulations regarding setbacks and lot coverage, so not every lot you like will be suitable.
If you’re one of those who has found the perfect lot and needs a house to fit it, work with your contractor to find the home design that will fit your requirements. Architects and builders have the skills and tools to adapt a design to fit a lot.
The initial stages of planning a custom built home are often the most important. Don’t hesitate to ask the questions that will refine the characteristics of your next home.