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Blog Category - The Home Building Process

Tips for Choosing the Right Floor Plan

Categories: Blog, First Time Home Buyers, The Home Building Process | Posted: April 12, 2018

The process of choosing the design for building a new home is exciting but can also be overwhelming. There are lots of decisions to make that will have a lasting impact. As you browse the home designs, here are some tips for choosing the right floor plan.

Make sure it measures up. You might have a certain square footage figure in mind as you look at homes. However, some floor plans are smartly designed and can make better use of the space. You might be able to “live large” in a home that’s slightly smaller than you expected.

Follow the flow. When you’re looking at a floor plan, imagine yourself walking through the home. Go from the laundry room to putting the clothes away. Is it convenient? Does the flow of the kitchen to the dining area feel right? Will the bedrooms afford privacy for the occupants? When you’re coming in with an armload of groceries, will you have an easy path to the kitchen?

Level it out. How many levels will suit your lifestyle? Do you need a two-story home to accommodate everyone in your household, or is a single-level ranch more to your liking? A single-level home certainly fits the household that doesn’t want to deal with stairs. You can also integrate a first-floor owner’s suite if you need more space but want to do most of your living on the first floor.

Consider the wide, open spaces. Many floor plans feature the open concept. It’s a popular layout because the lack of walls between the kitchen, living room, and dining area allow for more socializing. The cook is no longer cut off from the activity outside the kitchen. As you look at the open floor plan in the home designs, think about how the rooms connect. It might be one big space—long, square, or rectangular—or an L-shape with the kitchen as the pivotal point. Do you prefer one style over the other? How will your furniture fit in the layout? With an open floor plan, you can create separate spaces, like a reading area or study space. Envision how you will use the main living area so you choose a floor plan that fits your family’s lifestyle.

Don’t underemphasize the functional places. Features like a mudroom and the design and placement of the laundry room might not seem as important in the big picture, but small details often spark a big change. The mudroom, for example, is a threshold that protects your home from the great outdoors and keeps the clutter under control, if you plan it that way. Cubbies or cabinets are a smart choice here. Establish a system for organizing shoes, backpacks, school stuff, leashes, and everything else that often gets lost when it’s allowed to meander into the main living area.

Some homeowners prefer to have the laundry room closer to the master suite, while others want it near the kitchen. Which location do you prefer?

Do you need more function for your laundry room, like storage or a utility sink? Maybe you’d like a space to bathe and groom the family pet. Or possibly you would like a laundry room with a countertop to fold laundry and cabinets to store more supplies.

Explore the undiscovered needs. As you browse the floor plans, think of alternative uses for rooms that might seem like a “bonus” right now. A formal dining room or living room could seem extraneous but you consider repurposing it for a playroom, hobby studio, game room, library, or other function. A bonus or flex room can work as a guest room or home office, too.

Ask a lot of questions—of yourself and your builder—when reviewing home designs to be sure you’re choosing the right floor plan!

Tips for Working With Your Home Builder’s Design Center

Categories: Blog, First Time Home Buyers, The Home Building Process | Posted: March 8, 2018

Your new home plans are finalized, and now it’s time to choose the details—colors, flooring, countertops, cabinetry hardware, lighting, door knobs, and so much more. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re unprepared, so follow these tips for working with your home builder’s design center to get the look you’re going to love for many years.

Set a budget for upgrades. You can select choices among the standard features that your home builder offers—type of color of flooring, wall colors, cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures, to name just a few. These are included in the price of your home. However, you will also be presented with choices for upgrades. Maybe you want granite or quartz countertops instead of a solid surface, or different doors for your kitchen cabinets. Before you walk into the design center where you will be tempted with shopping made so easy, determine how much you can afford for adding upgrades to your new home. Be sure your design center professional understands you have a limit and provides you with cost of each upgrade.

Determine your priorities. Along with coming to the builder’s design center with a budget, be clear about how you want to use those funds. Think in advance—before all those shiny choices are staring you in the face—what’s more important. For example, can you live with certain fixtures in your powder room in order to upgrade the light fixture in the foyer? Consider which details will deliver more satisfaction in the long run—and stick with that decision.

Bring pictures and swatches. You probably have ideas in mind for your interiors. Maybe you’ve pinned photos on Pinterest, torn pages out of magazines, and collected fabric and paint swatches. Bring everything you’ve gathered so you can share it with the designer. Snap photos of furniture you’ll have in your new home, with measurements, too. You’ll be able to better envision your new space when you have all these details together.

Describe your lifestyle. When you meet with your selections coordinator at the design center, talk about the way you’re going to live in your new home. Offer details like how often you entertain, the age of your children (and whether your home is the “fun place”), and where you like to eat your daily meals. Are there bottleneck places in your home, like the bathroom or kitchen? How often do you do laundry, and do you fold it in the laundry room? The more you share, the better this pro can guide you toward smart choices.

Take your time. The decisions you make at the design center will have a lasting impact on your new home. Don’t rush through them. It might be helpful to ponder some of the choices for a few days before you commit. Borrow the swatches and samples you need, look at them at different times of the day (bearing in mind it might be different in your new home), and then return to finalize the design details on your new home.