One of the most important things you do when you build a new construction home is to choose the floor plans. Structural additions in your new construction home plan are some of the biggest costs, but if you choose wisely, they also will bring you the biggest return on your investment.
But being faced with all the options for your new home can bring about a variety of emotions. You may feel overwhelmed with the number of choices for the layout of secondary bedrooms. You may experience some sticker shock at the cost of adding a sliding glass door. And, you may have some disappointment that the freestanding tub you really want isn’t available in your floor plan.
Believe me, I felt all of these emotions (and more) when choosing our new construction home plans.
So, I want to share with you how I would choose my new construction home plan if I were to do it all over again, including an exclusive checklist you can download and use to help decide on your new home! You can find it at the end of the article!
Home Buying Always Starts at the Same Place
Budget. Money is always going to be the end-all, be-all when it comes to responsible home buying.
With new construction home planning, you not only need to budget for the structure you want, but also all the design center add-ons and the lot premium (yes, you have to pay extra for the lot you want).
Once you get your preapproval letter from your lender and have a good handle on what your budget is, subtract out your design center money and your lot premium. (FYI: our builder’s agent told us to plan on $25k-$35k for design center and we spent $50k. Our lots ranged anywhere from $15k-$50k based on size and location–we paid $25k).
Now you have a good handle on what you can afford structurally for your new construction home plans.
What Do You Need Today?
Make a list of what you need in a home today, in terms of space.
The obvious ones are the usual real estate questions: how many bedrooms, how many baths, do you need a garage, do you work from home and need a home office?
The not so obvious ones might require a little more thought. Do you need a dining room if you have space for a table in your kitchen/living area? Do you need a dedicated play space for your kids, if you have a basement? Do you need a separate guest space/home gym/office, or can you combine these into one room?
Our Missing Basement
Our new home doesn’t have a basement, and I’ve never lived in a home without one. The basement has been a playroom, a man cave, an office, a guest space, and a home gym. So, that meant we needed spaces to function as all the things we usually had in a basement, like we now need a dedicated playroom for E. Our living space is open concept, so I’d prefer to have at least some of her toys elsewhere.
And, we needed a space Steve could play video games that wasn’t the living room tv, so we made sure to get an office big enough to also hold a tv and comfy chair.
But, Don’t Forget the Future You
I assume if you’re building a new construction home, you’re planning on being there for at least 3-5 years, and there’s a chance this is your forever home.
So, think about where you and your family will be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. What will you need then that you may not need right now?
Will it be 2 more bedrooms and another bath because you’re planning on having more kids? Maybe you need a game room for your older kids to corral some of the noise and chaos outside of your family room? Or, do you want this to be your forever home and will want to move your bedroom to the first floor as you get older?
Our Guest Room Dilemma
For us, the one thing that stuck out was a first floor guest room. Our new home has the guest room on the third floor. Since we’re moving away from our families, we know we’ll have parents and aunts and uncles visit us frequently. If we stay in our home for more than 5 years, we don’t know if it’s fair to ask our 75 year old aunts to walk to the third floor for their room every visit. While we don’t plan on this being our forever home, we didn’t want the lack of a first floor guest space to be the reason we had to move in the future.
So, instead of the office option on the first floor, we added the full bedroom option, which also converted the half bath to a full. This allows Steve to have his dedicated office on the first floor now and use the third floor as our guest space. But in the future, we can move the guest room to the first floor, and Steve’s office will move upstairs.
Steer Away From Niche Spaces
If you’re building your forever home and have the money to add what you want, you can skip this section.
But, if you’re trying to stick to a budget, or building your for-now home, try to avoid niche spaces in your home. Niche spaces can seem super attractive in the model, but in reality can either go unused after the new glow wears off, or be a detriment when it comes to selling your home in the future.
One example I’ve seen a lot of recently is screening rooms, or theater rooms. Unless your family is religious about weekly movie nights or game day watches, you probably should forgo the dedicated screening room with the projector and built-in speakers. When you go to sell your home, some people will walk in to the theater room and think, what a waste of space. Or, they’ll think about the cost of furnishing the space and upgrading the tech and lose interest in the whole house.
Instead, focus on spaces that can be multipurpose. Maybe there’s space in the basement to make a great theater space for your family, that can easily be made into guest space or home gym for your future buyers.
Be Careful Not to Over-Improve
There is such a thing as over-improvement in new construction home planning, if you aren’t careful. You don’t want to build a home that’s $200k more expensive than the homes in your neighborhood.
So, if you seem to be getting every structural upgrade they have, and plan on upgrading a lot in design center as well, have your realtor check sales prices for similar homes in the area currently. Make sure you can recoup your investment if you have to sell your home in the future.
You’ve Got This!
Choosing your new construction home plans may be the most important step in building a new home. With all the models to look at and builders to consider, you can quickly lose focus on what you need in a home. So, make sure you take your time in choosing your structural add-ons, and use the tips I’ve provided here. They’ll help you avoid overspending on add-ons you don’t need and ensure you get the space that can grow with you and your family.
Get the Checklist!
This is a lot of stuff to remember, so I created an exclusive checklist for you to help navigate your decisions and your budget for your new construction home plan. Click here to get access now!
You can print it out and use it to help you decide on the best model and structure homes for you and your family, all while staying in budget.
You might want to have a pencil handy so you can make changes as you need to!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post in the comments below! Or, you can always send a direct message to us at our Contact Us page.