Practice makes perfect is something that many of us heard often while growing up. Our multiplication tables, free throws and kissing were all things that luckily got easier with practice.
The rule also applies to building a house, but most of us do not build enough times to learn as we go. When building our dream home, we typically get one shot. That’s why we generated a list of important questions (with helpful hints) to shorten the home building learning curve.
Where do family members spend most of their time?
If your family tends to congregate in the kitchen, investing in an island with stools or an open floor plan with room to move might be wise. Or maybe you are movie lovers, and the perfect home theater is a top priority. Make sure that you do not have to completely change your lives and relationships with each other to live in your new home.
How will those habits continue or change in your new home?
Your house’s current layout often leaves something to be desired—after all, isn’t that why you are building? Just because you are not a sit-around-the-fire family today doesn’t mean that you won’t be in your new house. Think about how your new home will add to your daily life and make you a stronger, closer, happier family.
What things about your old house must change in your new house?
Do you hate the way that cabinet doors open into each other or that there is never a power outlet where you need one? Making a simple list of things that disappoint or bother you at your current place helps you generate ideas for the new one. That way, you won’t hesitate when the builder asks which side of the doorway is preferable for light switches.
What colors, themes and styles define your family?
Much of your life will be spent in this new home. Shouldn’t it be an environment that makes you happy? We always recommend that home builders think about colors and style as early in the process as possible. Visits to a neighbor’s house are opportunities to snap photos. Trips to Home Depot can provide color samples. Pinterest is a gold mine for inspiration. Bottom line: always be on the lookout for ideas. Check out our interior design advice, too!
How much do you know about the community in which you plan to build?
Sure, there’s a nearby Giant Eagle, but what about the schools? What is the township’s average home value? Is it increasing or decreasing? You’re talking about calling this place home. It definitely pays to do your homework. City-data, Trulia and Zillow all have lots of resources to begin your education.
Will you have space to grow?
Families are dynamic. Three-person families can quickly become four. Or five. Tiny toddlers become 6-foot athletes. In short, families have a way of evolving. It is best to build a home for your family today and tomorrow, rather than simply today. Think about where your family is going and whether you will need extra bedrooms for additional children or (someday) grandchildren.
Does the builder offer a home warranty?
It is impossible to avoid fine print when building a home, what with the licenses, permits and tax documents. But it is important to read it all. Use Heartland’s homeowner’s guide as a reference when examining home builder warranties. You can also find other sample warranties online to compare and contrast.
Which features are standard and which are upgrade?
Speaking of fine print, it should always be clear in advance what is included in the cost of your new home and what will be an additional line on the bill. Also ask yourself what is important. Does it matter if your builder includes premium shag carpeting throughout the house? Maybe not. Check out Heartland’s list of included new home features as a reference. It might help you craft your own list of priorities.
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