Building a house is one of the most exciting and stressful times of your life. Especially when you're a first homeowner, it’s not uncommon to get caught up looking at all the display homes. Being dazzled by the beautiful homes, well-designed plans and house and land packages is all part of the process. But you have to be smart about your investment and weigh up all the pros and cons.
When you’re looking at the big picture of your new home design, it’s funny how many things can be easily missed. Little design flaws that may seem trivial initially, can turn out to be a massive pain once the house is actually built.
There’s always going to be a few mistakes made when building any house. Armed with the right tools and information though, you can eliminate many of these issues. Here are some things people commonly forget when they’re building a home.
Create a budget buffer
The first step when it comes to working out your budget is to be realistic. There’s no point in looking at extravagant homes and being sold on all the extra trappings if it’s going to put you too much out of pocket and under financial strain. You have to be prepared for any hidden or additional costs that can arise in the process. The best way to avoid these is to ask as many questions as possible before signing the contract.
Talk to your builder about what hidden costs there are and if there’s anything that may be added on top of the house price (i.e. site costs, fencing, stamp duty etc.). For comparison and clarity, when possible get a fixed price and an itemised quote instead of a single figure estimate. Avoid contracts that have a list of TBAs. Once you've determined your savings, create a budget buffer which can be used for any unexpected additional costs that crop up. This is a vital part of protecting your finances and being prepared.
Irrigation systems are really hard to put in after you’ve built the home and done up the outdoor area so plan it early in the design stages. Adding the system before construction begins will eliminate having to dig up newly laid lawns and garden areas down the track. If you want your landscape space to be lush, green and healthy then implementing underground sprinklers and drip irrigation systems will keep things looking good. Not to mention, the time and hassle you’ll save not having to hand water. Professionally installed irrigation systems are great for efficient water usage as well.
Add an extra layer of security
All homeowners will consider security when building a house, but how far have you delved into it? Installing more than just your standard deadbolts on entry points is imperative. Additional security features like adding security screens to windows and doors offer a better level of safety. They’re also great for encouraging extra natural light into the home, and circulating fresh air without jeopardising security, views and decorative appeal.
Alarm systems, motion activated and automated lighting, and utilising quality materials for doors and windows all provide an extra layer of security too. Whilst many of these can be added down the track, it’s better to get them sorted as early on in the process as possible.
Smart storage solutions
Extra storage is a feature that’s usually underrated until you’ve built your home, moved in and realise how much you actually need it. Plan ahead with ample amounts of storage space and opt for more than you think you need – trust me, it’ll get used eventually! Take the time in the design process to map out each room and area to determine where you want the storage to be located. Consider garage storage space too.
Power outlet practicality
Space limitations and poor planning can lead to power outlets being in the silliest spots. When you’re trying to enjoy living in your new home, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having enough power outlets in the right places. Outlet placement in every room is important to plan carefully – especially with most of us relying on electronic devices on a regular basis. You don’t want to be tripping over multiple cords or having extension cords and power boards plugged in everywhere.
It’s also cheaper to install multiple power and TV points during the building process than having to do it later. So, it's better to have a few extra than not enough. Don’t forget to add power outlets to the garage, outside entertaining area and other key locations where you may need to plug in. Consider double power points too and adding a couple to the hallway to make life easier.
Lighting is an important safety feature for homes, but it also plays a big role in creating the right mood. One of the best parts about building a home is you can design your own unique lighting scheme. You can be as creative as you want from room-to-room with different lighting features. Dimmer switches are a fantastic addition to truly craft the right vibe and don’t forget spots you may not normally illuminate – like under kitchen cabinets which can be super handy.
For more advice on building a house take a read of the pros and cons for building your first home, 6 steps to find the right builder and budgeting for the hidden costs of building a home.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Central Screens – a Western Australia family owned business since 1993 specialising in roller shutters, security doors and security screens for your home. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.
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