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A new home can bring years of happiness, but regrets often surface once the project is done. There’s longing for more storage space and a laundry room near the bedrooms, for example. Sometimes, there are must-haves that aren’t completed or considered beforehand.
We’ve identified 10 things to consider when drawing up plans or working with your homebuilder so that you’ll experience total happiness in your home, long after the final nail is hammered.
Are you always too hot or cold? Ensure your walls are properly insulated. Proper insulation installation is expected from the insulation contractor’s bid. But some spots, such as rim joists between the first and second floor, are easily missed. If you needed to retrofit this aspect of your home it could cost you thousands later on.
As flat-screen televisions become the norm, homes are changing to accommodate sleek, high-tech models. Often, that means hanging TVs on the wall. But who wants to see electrical and cable cords running down the wall to the entertainment system? If you want to avoid another costly wall project, plan for where cords and outlets will sit. A conduit is a pipe in the wall that lets homeowners keep cords out of sight.
Laundry rooms often are located near water pipes and ducts, which is why so many of them are in basements or garages. Locating one near a second-floor bedroom requires access to that plumbing infrastructure. If you don’t build that in the first time, you may be in for a large project later on.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning are essential to comfort in your home. If built right the first time, with an eye toward energy-efficiency, it can be a boon to your wallet, as well. Badly or incorrectly installed HVAC may mean, at least, a chilly house in the winter and an inconsistently cooled house in the summer. At worst, it may mean high energy bills, carbon dioxide being pulled into your home or worse.
Drains that don’t work can make a wreck of a house. From slow-draining tubs and showers to stopped-up sinks, incorrect drainage can hit the owner in the wallet. Right after the plumbing is installed, many builders will use cameras on tubes to inspect the lines to make sure there is no construction debris in the pipes. Make sure the drain lines flow with gravity and that outdoor drains are more than shallow holes with drain covers on them.
When planning your home, look for framing pockets that are wasted space and put in a door to create a storage nook or utility closet. These spaces can be under stairways, between bedrooms and in closets with vaulted ceilings. In the kitchen, it’s important to have space for large kitchen appliances such as food processors and stand mixers so they are not crowding the counters.
Electricity can be important for backyard entertaining in the summer and for holiday lights in the winter. Exterior outlets also come in handy for corded tools to keep your landscaping looking great. Access to water is essential, as well. You must place hose spigots away from the main walking path, so no one trips over loose hoses.
Which way is a door supposed to swing? If it’s opening the wrong way, it may be a huge headache to you. Incorrectly hung doors can block essential components such as other doors, cabinets or refrigerators. Badly installed doors can also hit your pocketbook – they may leak air or water and increase your energy bills
Many new homes have open floor plans with roomy hallways and stairwells. But not all are, at least not throughout the entire house. Most local building codes require hallways to be 3 feet wide. Many modern designers prefer a width of 4 feet, however, especially for homes larger than 2,000 square feet. This helps more than one person pass through the hall at once and makes sure you can move larger pieces of furniture through the home.
A half-bathroom near the exterior door can remedy the issue of tracking dirt and mud through your home after outside projects, in addition to being convenient for guests. It’s also handy for families with kids who are always running in and out of the house. All a half-bath needs is a toilet, sink and mirror.