Modular Homes Section
Choosing the Perfect Home For You
Most of us will very rarely plunk down tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for anything. If we ever do, it will likely be for the largest, most important purchase we ever make - a home. While spending the large sum of money to buy a home is certainly an investment, one that will typically continue to grow in value over time, it's still enough to make one nervous, and for good reason. What if I decide I bought the wrong home? What if I don't like the neighborhood? What if I don't like the home? What if my needs change and the home is no longer suitable for me and my family?
While all these questions certainly arise when buying a home, when building a home, they are even more pressing. When you decide to build a home, you certainly do not want to regret your decision soon after the home is finished. However, if you approach the process of building a home with what your needs are now and the foreseeable needs of the future in mind, then building a home can be a rewarding, enjoyable experience that allows you to see the home of your dreams become a reality.
One of the most important aspects of your home is its setting. When choosing property to build your home on, do not overlook the importance of the place your home will be located. The first considerations, are, of course, the neighborhood where the home will be built. Is this a neighborhood you will feel comfortable in? Is it close to work, schools, church, or other establishments that are important to you? How busy is the street? Will street noise interrupt your habits? Can you build your home far enough from the street and your neighbors to ensure that you have a modicum of privacy? Better yet, do you know anyone else who lives in the neighborhood? Do you know who your neighbors will be? If so, ask them about their experience living in the area. Are they satisfied?
After your concerns about the neighborhood have been addressed, first look at the larger picture, then the smaller. Looking at the larger picture means talking to your local zoning officials about any public works projects that may be planned for the neighborhood in the near future. You don't want to build your new home on a quiet street only to have a busy highway come through your front yard in two years. Also, you don't want to build a house in a residential neighborhood only to have it changed to a business district soon thereafter.
The larger picture aside, you must then look at the site itself. Will the lot you have in mind be large enough for the home you wish to build, while still providing a lawn and driveway? Are there any drainage issues - I.e., do you see a great deal of standing water on the property? If you like to garden, does the lot have adequate room for planting while also getting ample sunlight? How much work will need to be done at the site before a home can be constructed?
When all your questions about your home site have been answered, it's time to move on to the home itself.
Most homeowners who have built their homes themselves will agree that deciding on the home they built was the most challenging part of the whole process. Not unlike a kid in a candy store, the homeowner who decides to build his or her own home has so many options that the decision can be a wrenching one. However, by taking several factors into consideration, you can narrow the decision down and find the home you've dreamed of without being buried under an avalanche of options.
The first and foremost factor to consider when building your home is determining how much home you can afford. Talk to your mortgage company or bank to get an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on the home you wish to build. Without knowing this figure, you are likely to be disappointed, either because you set your sites on a home that's much more expensive than what you can manage, or because you settled for less home than you could have built.
Once you have determined how much home you can build, you can determine what size home you can build. If the cost of construction is roughly $120 per square foot in your area, and you have $180,000 to spend, then you know you can build up to a 1500 square foot home. Now, you must make sure you are getting all the home you can in 1500 square feet.
You can be just as happy in a 1500 square foot home as you would be in a 2500 square foot home if it is a 1500 square foot home that meets your needs. But what are your needs? It's time to make your home notebook. This notebook, which you will find irreplaceable during the decision process, should contain not only examples of homes and interiors that you love, but a list of the elements you need and want in your home. These are some of the things you should consider when determining what you need in a home:
- Does anyone in your home have a disability, or do you foresee taking care of parents or others who will be unable to climb stairs? Then you need a single level home, first, and a home that can accommodate special needs throughout second.
- How many people will be living in your home? Are you planning to add to your family, or are your building a smaller nest now that some of your family have flown to their own coops? Not only will there need to be bedrooms to accommodate all the members of your family, but the public spaces - the living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom(s) - will also need to be sufficiently sized to provide room for you entire family.
- Do you entertain often, or just have a large extended family that visits often? You want to build a home that can comfortably host these gatherings.
- Is having a garage important to you? If so, then you need a home that has a garage. If not, you are lucky - you can build more house without having the garage!
You may have more specific needs than those listed above. If so, list them, and keep them in mind when looking at house plans.
One of the best ways to determine what you'd like included in your new home is to consider the home you are living in now. What do you like about your current home? What do you dislike? What works well? What doesn't work at all?
Look at your current home with a critical eye. If the one small bathroom creates havoc in the morning, then you know you will need more bathrooms and/or larger bathrooms. If the lack of closets and storage space means you are spending money storing your items off site, then you need more storage space. If the children are stuck sharing bedrooms barely big enough for one, let alone more than one, then more bedrooms or larger bedrooms should be on your list. If your family enjoys spending time together and is cramped in the kitchen or living room of your current home, then consider an open floor plan, which allows family time while also ensuring space for everyone.
Once you have determined what you need, it's also important to determine your wants. This can be the most fun - and the most daunting - part of choosing a home, due to the sheer overwhelming number of options available. Decide what your most important wants are, and the process gets easier. Keep a notebook full of these ideas to refer to, and it gets even easier.
While slightly less pressing than determining your needs, determining your wants are also important. Your wants should be listed in order from greatest importance to least, keeping in mind that some wants are items that can be added at a later date. If you are tired of cleaning carpets, and you want hardwood or laminate floors, note this. If you'd like a bathroom with space for a shower and a tub, keep this in mind. If granite countertops is something you've always dreamed of, remember this as well.
With you list of needs and wants at hand, you are ready to begin looking for your home. Searching for a home plan online makes the process much less intimidating. Most websites that offer home plans for sale, or websites for modular home manufacturers, allow you to search floor plans by square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and even design style. This makes finding the perfect home for your family much simpler by eliminating having to search through thousands of plans, many nowhere near what you need, just to find plans that are what you need.
As you look through these websites, print off the plans that you like best and add them to your notebook. When you have found a number of plans, begin looking through them to see if they meet all the needs and wants that you have listed. Toss those that do not. For those that remain, compare them against each other to determine which are most appealing to your family. This will help you narrow the search for your dream home down dramatically.
Choosing a home to build is a huge responsibility. A home is probably the largest investment most of us will ever make, and we want to make sure we build the best home for our needs. By taking the time to choose carefully, we can make the process much less stressful.
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