30 Important Things to Consider When You Decide to Build a House
Updated: Feb 24
1. First things first—find a good design. Consider what you like and want in a home. How will you use it? Will it be your forever home, a vacation home, do you need space to entertain? Before making a final decision, be sure you consider what you need now as and how those needs may change in the future.
2. Building a new home is very exciting, but it’s also very stressful. Before beginning the construction process, make sure you’re ready for the stress that’s coming your way. Contractors, often take longer than their initial prediction, the weather isn't predictable, and materials are always more expensive than originally planned. Make sure you and your family are ready for the disappointments, the excitement and the extra expenses you will incur.
3. Be organized. Have a system in place to keep track of everything including: spending, deadlines, dates, appointments and important contacts.
4. Make sure every room in your new house has a specific purpose. Optimize your space so you get your money’s worth.
5. Hire a contractor that you like and feel comfortable with. Don’t put something that important in the hands of someone you don’t know or trust. Keep the line of communication open and be straightforward about your expectations. Don't be afraid to ask for references, and call them!
6. Have an inspection done on the property you’re considering before you purchase it, and if it’s in a subdivision or gated community, make sure you know and agree with all the laws and rules that come with it. If you are buying in one of these special communities, your home will have to meet certain codes and standards. Knowing those up front will save you trouble down the road.
7. Make sure you do your homework ahead of time, so there won’t be any surprises later on. Building a house is likely the biggest expense you’ll encounter in your lifetime, but it’s worth it. Planning ahead will help you keep your sanity throughout the process.
8. Most lenders recommend putting aside between 10 and 15 percent of your budget for any unexpected expenses that may occur.
9. Once your new house is finished, you’ll likely want to add some curb appeal, and landscaping isn’t cheap. In subdivisions or gated communities, certain styles or plants may be required. Therefore, be sure to budget a portion of your money for landscaping. If you hire someone to do it for you, the cost of the project will be significantly higher, depending on the design you have in mind. Don’t forget the irrigation system!
10. Make a list of your expectations and determine what is most important to you. Decide what you’re willing to and can afford to spend. Are there any items you’re willing to splurge on? Things you’re willing to change? Knowing what you want from the beginning will save you some headaches. Don’t overlook the small details that go into building a house because they are still very important.
11. Consider the width of your hallways and doorways—what if you or a family member should need a wheelchair? Is there room to accommodate one?
12. How many electrical outlets and switches will you need? What about the placement of them? Do you need extra outlets for Christmas decorations? How about appliances or electronic equipment and computers? Make those decisions ahead of time, and discuss them with your contractor.
13. Do you want high ceilings, or do you prefer standard height? Have you considered the additional cost of heating and cooling the extra space?
14. Consider each room and the way the doors swing into the room, as well as how the closet doors open or close. Make sure there is plenty of room and that none of the doors conflict with one another.
15. Are you going to buy Energy-Star appliances or standard appliances? Go to a big box store, or shop online to get the best price on your appliances. Also, talk to your insurance agent to find out if there are discounts for purchasing Energy-Star appliances.
16. Take into consideration the lighting of your home. Do you want artificial or natural light, or both? Does it matter to you which direction your house faces? Do you want morning or evening sun? Are you planning to watch the sunset from your front porch? These decisions need to be made before the foundation is poured.
17. Storage is another huge element to consider when building a home. Make sure you have enough storage space. It’s even okay to have too much because eventually, you’ll use it.
18. Make sure the interior design of your master bedroom is what you want. Are you a light sleeper? Are your bedrooms facing a noisy street? Will you be able to place your furniture properly with the floor space and window placement? Does your master bedroom have an on-suite? What about closet space?
19. If your living room opens to the kitchen, will it suffice for any entertaining you plan to do? Does it work for the overall flow of your space?
20. If you have kids, do you/they need a separate playroom? Do you and/or your spouse need an office? Can you share a space, or do you both need your own spaces?
21. Do you need or want a central vacuum system? Planning ahead will be a lot easier than adding one once the finished walls are in place.
22. How much space do you need in the laundry room? What kind of appliances do you plan to use? Do you need a commercial washer and dryer, a freezer, a utility sink, cabinets, racks for clothing or storage, a pantry or closet?
23. Be sure to add outlets and appropriate lighting in your closets. Know ahead of time whether you’d rather have built-in storage racks or custom shelving. What are your storage requirements? Do you plan to pay a closet organizer for a special design?
24. What about the finishes on your countertops? Do you want granite? Marble? Concrete? Or will you be satisfied with something cheaper? What kind of cabinet space do you need? Do you want drawers or shelves? What kind of wood do you want your cabinets made from? Cherry, maple, pine, oak?
25. One of the more costly aspects will be your flooring. If you get first-grade flooring, prepare to spend more money. Tavern grade hardwood costs less but won’t look as good as the more expensive product. There are many types of flooring, and the cost may increase or decrease based on your tastes and budget.
26. Don’t forget the bathrooms. Do you want water-efficient toilets? Standard toilets or raised toilets, which may accommodate you as you age? Be sure to consider the showers as well. Whether you’re short or tall, your shower needs to accommodate your body type as well as your needs. Do you need one sink or two? Do you want them together or in separate spaces in the room?
27. Finally, consider your outdoor space. Do you want a patio, deck or porches? A grill or kitchen area for entertainment? Outdoor speakers and TV area? An outdoor sink? Outdoor lighting? A pool? Furniture?
28. Make sure your garage can accommodate your vehicles. If you drive bigger cars or trucks, be sure the doors are wide enough to fit your car through it. If you need to store outdoor materials or garden equipment, such as a lawnmower, make sure to plan for that space.
29. If you have pets, they’re going to need a special place as well. Will you need a fence? If so, what kind? Do they need space to roam and run?
30. Last but not least, what kind of security cameras/system will you need? Can you install it yourself, or do you plan to use a company for your installation and products? Either way, security can be expensive and needs to be factored into your budget.
Hopefully, these suggestions give you something to think about and will help make your decisions about your new home easier. Whatever you decide, make sure that your home is designed with your needs in my mind. Remember, it's always easier to add things as you go than to wait and do it later.