All the questions you need to ask while building your dream home

living room
Are you planning to build your dream home? Do you have a picture in your mind of the perfect home? Whether it's large or small, simple or grand, the fun part is creating a plan for your dream home. Everything will be new and reflect you. Don't be afraid to dream big. This is where you put all your ideas, hopes and creativity to work. There will be time later for the practical, but now plan your home to reflect who you are, how you want to live and what priorities you have.

This can be as simple as starting with a list of "must haves," and "would likes." List the features you want for each room and even make rough sketches. Don't forget to think about the future and what changes may be coming down the road. Do you have children, or are you planning for a family? Will you need more room for taking care of elderly parents, or will you be downsizing in the near future? Do you work from home, or will you need to provide a space for a workshop or workroom? These are all decisions which will impact your brainstorming of ideas. Stay organized with a software application or even a computation book and keep it handy until your home is completed. You can post quotes, photos, important phone numbers, ideas, and any other details pertaining to the project.

Where do you want to live? Many times, those who are planning to build a home already have a property chosen. However, if this is not the case, consider your options. Do you want to live in the country, the suburbs, or the city? Do you want to be close to shopping, medical facilities, or work? Visit your favorite neighborhoods and list the reasons they are your favorite. Consider the topography of the land. Will your budget support a water, mountain, or forest view? A heavily wooded or hillside landscape has a different set of architectural requirements and design challenges than flat ground. Check out the access to utilities and other services as well as areas near noise-producing areas such as freeways, airports, or railways. It may be wise to check with a real estate professional for any zoning, HOA, or variance requirements.

Your home is most likely your largest investment. Using a team of building professionals is a priority. Your architect and builder (may be the same person) will be your guides throughout this process and will make sure that your dream home is completed on time and within budget. In addition, your building professionals will be able to bring your ideas into the design process.
You may want to add a kitchen and bath designer, an interior designer and a landscape architect. These professionals will also be aware of all local and state codes. Do your homework when hiring these professionals, look at their previous work and ask for references.

There is software available that will help you plan your home's layout; walls, windows, etc. Smart Draw is a free software that can help you design a room or your entire home using symbols and templates. For more ideas, attend open houses and look at the homes in the neighborhoods that you love. Take photographs of homes and buildings you like, in order to remember those details that stood out. Use your vision and creativity to come up with a rough floor plan that reflects you and your family's priorities. Consider the traffic flow and the rooms most used in your design. Open floor plans are popular because they encourage interaction among family and friends. They also can make a smaller home appear larger. Does your family tend to spend a majority of their time in the kitchen? Do you want to make sure that the bedrooms are away from the areas that are most noisy? Do you work from home and need a study, workshop, or workroom? Will your future include taking care of elderly parents or visiting grandchildren? Your builder and architect will then give you their advice and expertise on your floor plan's workability. This is when you start making the real decisions about how your home will look.

How much natural light is important to you? Do you want skylights, which can bring in as much as 30 percent more light than vertical windows, to provide light during the winter months? Do you enjoy the morning light coming in your kitchen? Having a plan will allow you to bring in the natural beauty of a forest, mountain, or a body of water. All these decisions reflect the placement of your windows. In your planning of the layout of your rooms, consider drawing in the placement of large items of furniture to help decide the placement of windows. The electrical lighting requires planning, also. Do you want to install bright task lighting for your kitchen countertops, or create a mood with dimming sconces in the dining or bedroom? If you are trying to be green in your overall project, consider energy conservation bulbs and the use of smart systems to conserve energy. Don't forget the landscape lighting, which can add beauty and safety to your home.

Consider the features that you want in your new home. Prioritize these in order of importance. Here again, visit open houses for ideas of must-have and luxury features. Here is a list of some of the most wanted features in new homes:
  • Laundry Room
  • Hardwood floor
  • Eat-in Kitchen
  • Man Cave
  • Home Office
  • Chef's Kitchen
  • Party Room
  • Huge Yard
  • Master Bedroom with Double Vanities
  • Mudroom
  • Guest Bedroom
  • Outdoor Kitchen
  • Pantry
  • Guest Bedroom
  • Outdoor Living Spaces
  • Kitchen Island
  • Granite/Quartz/Marble Countertops
  • Walk-in Closets
  • Walk-in Showers
  • 9 Foot Ceilings
  • Outdoor Lighting
  • Built-in Storage
  • Energy Efficient Windows
  • Energy Efficient Appliances
  • Wider Doorways (36-42 inches)
  • Crown Molding/Wainscoting
  • Levers (Instead of doorknob)
  • Rocker Switches
  • Integrated Refrigerator
  • Programmable Thermostat
  • Lots of Electrical Outlets
  • Curbless Showers
  • Pet Accommodations Like:
    • Built-in Dog Shower
    • Integrated Food and Water Dishes
    • Litter Box Spaces
Building your dream home can be a daunting, yet exciting experience. The trick is to plan, stay organized, hire competent professionals, stay within your budget and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Harper Construction is the expert when it comes to custom home construction and remodeling. Their reputation for fine craftsmanship, attention to detail and strong customer service is reflected in their five-star Houzz rating. 

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