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If you're at the point where you've decided to build your "forever home," you have several things to consider. Particularly, if you're building a custom home, the possibilities are endless since you're essentially working with a blank canvas and an art set that can include custom cabinetry, a swimming pool, heated floors, media rooms, high-end appliances, outdoor kitchens, so on and so forth.
Very few people, however, have an endless budget, so when the rubber meets the road, you will have to make some decisions on what features you will splurge on and which you'll decide to skip for the sake of staying within your budget. In today's post, we'll cover a few places worth splurging on, and in our companion post, we'll cover some areas that you could save on while still creating your dream home. One thing to consider as you're making your list of must-haves for your custom made home is the average home value in your new neighborhood. If you ever decide to sell the home, you don't want to add so many high-end features that you have the most expensive home in the neighborhood. There is no definitive list of must-haves to reference, but here are a few areas that could be worth the splurge:
1. The Kitchen
For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home—the place where they cook and dine with their family, entertain loved ones and friends, and spend holidays and special occasions. Unsurprisingly, the kitchen is also one of the most expensive rooms in a home. But, when you consider the amount of time spent in the kitchen, you can see why this is an area that makes sense to put more money into. You have to ensure you end up with a kitchen that meets your family's long-term needs. Do you need two dishwashers, or would an over-sized kitchen island with a drop-in induction range and bar top do your family better? These are things to consider when designing the space because it's much harder to add those special, but very necessary, items to a kitchen after the fact.
Also, if you have a chef (or two or three) in the family, you should consider the flow of the kitchen. You need to make sure that whoever will be cooking has the right amount of space and a layout that works with them, not against them.
Last, but definitely not least, are the finishing touches that reflect your style and taste. This is YOUR custom home, so make sure your kitchen is one that 1) makes you happy and 2) makes you want to show it off. Do you like modern design, or do you want more of an "Under the Tuscan Sun" vibe? The finishes you choose are key to nailing the aesthetic you desire. A custom backsplash, the type of countertops ( granite, or marble, or concrete, or butcher block, or stainless steel--it's up to you!!), the style of vent hood, and sink and cabinet hardware are a few items to consider splurging on to truly make this home your dream home.
When it comes to flooring, there are multiple options at all points on the budget spectrum and style preference. Flooring is an area, in my opinion, worth splurging on, not only because it can impact the look, comfort, and resale value of a home, but also because of durability. Particularly, if there are pets or young children in the home, it's a good idea to opt for wood, high-end laminate, or tile in moisture prone areas such as the kitchen, mudroom, and bathroom. If you prefer more comfort in bedrooms, splurge on more durable, stain-resistant carpet.
3. Storage Space
It's natural for a family to acquire more and more "stuff" the longer they live in a house. Between children outgrowing clothes and toys, to bulky tools, lawn equipment, and sports equipment in the garage, storage space is typically at a premium in most people's homes. Splurging on extra closets, specialty shelving, and/or overhead storage in the garage can be great investments to ensure your custom home stays organized and functional for years to come.
4. Electric Outlet Placement
Electric outlet placement is not something most people typically think about when purchasing a home—not when there are so many other design decisions to make—but taking the time to think about and splurge on the placement and function of your electrical outlets could provide an enormous amount of convenience to you and your family. For example, integrated cabinets are a great way to keep hair dryers, flat irons, and electric razors stowed away in the bathroom, and create convenient charging stations that can easily be tucked away in the kitchen and study. Likewise, an outlet with integrated USB port could be a godsend to a digitally connected family with numerous cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics.
5. Outdoor Space
Depending on your family's lifestyle, your outdoor entertaining space may be an area that you'd like to put some more money toward. If you enjoy having friends and family over often, splurging on a fun and comfortable outdoor space could be incredibly valuable. If you picture yourself hosting Superbowl, pool, birthday, or various other parties or get togethers, when creating your outdoor oasis, the possibilities are endless and could include:
An outdoor kitchen with grill, mini refrigerator, and sink
A spacious patio with built in ceiling fans
A built in speaker system
6. The Mud Room
A bright, airy mudroom right off of the garage with copious built-in storage and a bench to drop your things on can make coming home from a busy day a little bit easier—and less messy. In the cold winter months when the entire family comes home with heavy coats, boots, umbrellas, scarves, etc., having a dedicated and convenient place to store them keeps the soggy, dirty mess that often accompanies winter gear from entering the rest of your home.
Designing and building your custom made home is an exciting and stressful time. There is a laundry list of things to consider and decisions to be made. Working with a trusted lender, designer, and builder can ensure you have a team of knowledgeable partners on your side to answer questions and keep the process moving forward.