A lot of thought, planning, and consideration goes into building a new home. You want the right location, a perfect mix of features and enough space for the whole family's needs. While focusing on those things is great, there are some other, equally important features that can easily get overlooked during the planning process.
1. Local Water Quality
When you pick out the perfect neighborhood, you check the location for school quality, access to transportation and medical offices, and how it might affect your commute. A critically important factor that often gets overlooked is the quality of the local water supply. There are all sorts of reasons to check with the local water utility before you build. Ask for quality reports so you can check for bacterial and chemical levels in the water. Be sure it is from a testing site that reflects the neighborhood's supply. Questionable results don't mean your site is out of the question. Whole house water treatments can remove most contaminants and a water softener system can reduce the effects of hard water.
2. Whole House Surge Protection
Take a minute and add up the value of your electronics that routinely stay plugged in. Include computers, televisions, home theater, phones, appliances, and pretty much anything that gets plugged into a power outlet. Once you do that simple calculation, it is easy to see why a whole house surge protection system is a great investment. The right unit will help protect your home without the need for surge strips at every point of use. Add a battery backup to the system to help preserve data and function in the case of a major event.
3. Future HVAC Needs
Large homes or those with more than one story often need more than one HVAC system or zone. If you are building a house it pays to plan for that extra one now. Any thoughts about finishing an attic or basement down the road, or if you think you will want to add heated space in a garage workshop, and you should go ahead and accommodate them now. Plan for more heating and cooling than you think you'll need, too. A slightly oversized unit won't have to strain to meet demand. That increased efficiency means lower utility bills and less stress on your HVAC system.
4. Accessibility Features
You may not need to worry about accessibility features now, but if you intend to stay in your home for many years it pays to plan ahead. A few items that can make staying in your home as you age a little easier include:
- Eliminate or minimize steps within the home
- Plan a master bedroom suite on the first floor
- Make hallways at least three feet wide
- Have a walk-in shower in at least one bathroom
- Install outlets and switches at accessible heights
5. Garage Location and Access
Think carefully about where you put your garage during the design process. Many people prefer to have it behind the house to improve appearances. You'll want to think of how that affects entry and exit to the house, though. A garage right off the kitchen makes unloading groceries incredibly easy. A pantry in the space between the garage and kitchen can make it even more convenient.
6. Wasted Space
There is a lot of wasted space in some homes. The desire to build for physical appeal can push function to the back burner. If you don't need an entire room for your laundry outfit, consider adding it to a closet. You may be able to sandwich it into the master bedroom suite so that it is completely out of the way yet incredibly convenient to use. Make open spaces under stairs serve double duty as storage closets instead.
7. Outside Access to Utilities
It may seem trivial, but you will want to have plenty of outside access to water and electricity. It is much easier and less expensive to add those during the building process than add them in later. If you think you may want to add an outdoor kitchen or firepit, plan for underground gas lines, too.
Thinking ahead and planning for future needs now will save you time, money and aggravation down the road. Take Time during your build to consider little features and concessions to real-life situations that many people overlook.