Custom Built Homes – Things to Consider (Part 1)
The Decision to Have a Home Built Specially for You
Having a home built specifically for you is a big undertaking. The goal is for you to own a home that meets your exact needs, is within your budget, and is completed on schedule.
You have probably looked at lots of project homes in display villages to get an idea of what kind of home you’re after, but then realised that none of them are exactly what you really want. The lounge room might be on the wrong side of the house to provide you with panoramic views of the long sandy beach. The cooking area may be too small, or not spacious enough for your large 2-door fridge. Or maybe the kitchen is too far from the entertainment area for you to converse with your guests while preparing the meal. Perhaps the ensuite is too cramped, or there isn’t room for a bath in the bathroom, or there isn’t room for a 3-car garage. Maybe the orientation of the house on the land would be unsuitable for solar panels.
Some project homes will have features that you want, and some drawbacks that you don’t. But with a custom built home, you don’t need to trade off the benefits of a particular project home with its shortcomings. And you can tailor a custom-made home to your budget – you can save money by excluding expensive elements that you don’t want, and instead spend it on aspects that you desire.
A custom-built home gives you an opportunity to own a unique home to express your unique personality. It can be designed specifically for your block, providing protection from wind and rain in winter, while keeping out the sun and heat in summer. Special allowances can be made for a garage large enough for multiple cars or a caravan, and the architect can design your home to exploit sweeping views of a distant mountain range.
Consider the Position of Your New Home
A lot of thought needs to go into the design of your home. But not just the house itself – you also need to consider where the home will be built. For example in a city you should consider a range of factors – proximity to work, shops, schools, medical facilities, family, public transport, sports facilities to name just a few. Think also about where you would not like to live, for example near a dump, a factory or a particularly noisy sports arena. It might also pay to enquire about the local council in the area you have your eyes on. Councils have planning and building regulations which are specific to the zones within their area of jurisdiction. Some of these regulations can be very prohibitive, and severely limit the design, appearance, shape and positioning of your new home.
If you don’t already have a block of land, this is the next choice to make. Blocks of land can vary greatly in ways that have the potential to influence both the design and position of your home on the land. Is the land level? If not, does it slope toward or away from the road, or from one side to the other? Are there any easements that need to be left clear or accessible? What shape is the block? Is there a river or creek near or across the land?
Then comes the decision on where the home will be positioned on the land. Are there any large trees that are likely to overshadow or otherwise encroach on your new home? Are there any spectacular views from the block that could be exploited if windows are positioned correctly? Or is there a view that you would like to conceal? Looking at a tall fence close to your lounge room window is not usually desirable – surely it would be a lot nicer to overlook a nice swimming pool or a beautifully manicured garden from your lounge chair.
Think About Your Home Design
Home designs obviously vary in so many ways. Variables include the number and size of bedrooms, the number and size of bathrooms and toilets, and the size, shape, location and amenities of the lounge room or visitor’s area. A lot of thought should also be given to the size, style, orientation and layout of the kitchen, particularly since there is enormous potential for the cooking area to be tailored to the owner’s specific needs. Nowadays it is becoming popular for visitors to be entertained in a large “open plan” socialising area, often in close proximity to the meal preparation area to enable the hosts to chat with their guests while preparing the meal. For more things to consider, refer to Why Would You Need a Home Extension.
With ideas in mind about the attributes of each room in the house, you next need to consider a range of other factors. What sort of room heating are you planning – oil, gas, wood or electric? Likewise for hot water – will it be gas or electric? Will your oven(s) be gas, electric or microwave? What type and size or refrigerator are you planning on? Will it be one door or two door, and how big will it be? Do you have an idea of what kind and style of room lighting you want? Is a home theatre on your shopping list? If so, where will it go?
With increasing power prices these days (and perhaps also a decreasing reliability of supply), it is important to at least consider solar panels. Solar electricity has obvious environmental advantages, but there are other ramifications. You can make savings on regular electricity costs, but at the expense of a perhaps sizable upfront installation cost. Also, if you are going to install solar panels, remember to take that into account when designing the house, because it may influence the area and orientation of the roof.