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7 Tips for Building Your First Home

by Lauren Busser The House Designers’ Editorial Director

Some home building goofs, like spilled paint or a hole in the drywall are easy to fix as things move along. But you've got to be careful to avoid major, costly errors when building your first home. No one wants to spend their hard-earned cash, time and energy building a home only to later discover that there's been a major oversight which needs correcting. Here are a few things to think about to help you avoid builder's remorse.

It’s all in the Planning

A house is an investment that is meant to last, theoretically forever. So it's wise to plan well into the future when you build your first home. Is your family growing? Do you want a place to entertain? Is it in a location where you'd consider spending the rest of your life? Your answers to these questions will determine what kind of home you are looking for.

Clairmont House Plan

The Clairmont house plan works with the landscape outside and has excellent planning inside. With an open floor plan and a separate Great Room this house also allows for future expansion on the lower level.

Work with the Landscape

These days, owners of smaller homes are dedicating less time and resources to initially developing and maintaining their landscapes. But a house that simply sits between block walls or fences obviously isn't going to be very appealing in the long term. So when you’re planning your build, leave ample space around the house for future gardens or outdoor living spaces.

Safety First

It’s extremely important to feel safe and secure in your home. Planning for things like fire exits, exterior lighting and a security system go a long way in improving the safety of your new home.

Morrison House Plan

The Morrison house plan is a small cottage with a design allowing it be expanded into a two-story home relatively simply. Not only does it have plenty of amenities but it is also part of our energy efficient house plans collection.

Green is Key

A big trend in today’s market is the green home. There are a lot of green, water-saving technologies in a range of prices. Take a look at the ENERGY STAR® website to see a wide variety of energy-saving building products and appliances that you can use in your home.

Keep it Affordable

Size is an important consideration when building your first home. If you are building a larger home you can obviously expect to pay more in mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance and utilities but you wouldn't want to build so small that it leaves you without options for redesign or expansion later. Really think about the spaces you'll need and what you can afford when planning your house and you won’t have regrets later on.

When you are planning to build your first home, you should really plan to allocate half to two-thirds of what you can actually afford towards building it. No house comes in at or under budget, and sometimes quite a bit over. This results from a variety of factors, some of which may be due to your upgrading specifications, fixtures or materials as you go along. Sometimes it's an oversight, or increase in building materials costs, or even weather delays. You can reduce overages with diligence and planning but some will always sneak by.

Merveille Vivante House Plan

You can’t get an affordable house plan more luxurious than the Merveille Vivante Small House Plan.

In the Details

It’s easy to think about how many bedrooms you need or what you want in your kitchen but don’t forget other details too. For instance, there should be a bathroom on each floor if you are building a multi-story home. You'll also want to consider amenities like extra closet space for any guests you might periodically have staying with you.

Leave it to the Professionals

The best advice anyone can give you when building your home is to make as many preparations in advance as possible and let the professionals execute your dream. You should visit the site often to observe what your contractor and subcontractors are up to but making lots of changes during construction will hinder the timeline and ultimately cost you more money. So don’t be afraid to hold off on breaking ground until you are really happy with your design on paper.

Building your first home is a rewarding experience but while you are planning take some time to consider these points and make your home something that will stand the test of time. Remember, your home is likely to be the biggest investment you'll ever make, so planning and doing it right the first time is the way to assured satisfaction in the final result.

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