20 House Building Mistakes We Made So You Don’t Have to!
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Our team is sharing our collective house building mistakes so you can learn from our mishaps!
Building a house? You shouldn’t already have regrets.
Until you actually live in a home, you don’t think of everything. Read from other homeowners’ house building mistakes so you don’t make the same ones!
1. The best kitchen cabinet doors have drawers and make things more organized.
Opting for all drawers or adding drawers inside of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets will make reaching for (and finding things) a lot easier. Plus, pull-outs help to keep things more visible and organized.
If you’re trying to get your drawers more organized you should also consider some containers for organizing all your small and miscellaneous items or investing in a unique pegboard drawer insert to customize where you put all your essentials.
Hip Tip: Easily declutter your entire home with our 4-week declutter challenge!
2. Avoid house building mistakes & skip the traditional rooms you won’t use.
Keeping unused rooms for the sake of tradition (like formal sitting rooms and dining rooms) sometimes doesn’t appeal to new home buyers and their modern-family needs. Make sure you know your family’s habits and whether or not you’ll be getting the best use of space with every room in your new home.
“We built our home and it came with a formal dining room. Unfortunately, we’ve never used it that way. A few years ago, we kinda turned it into a sitting area (no renovation or anything – just moving furniture around) and it has worked better for us. I wish we would have just turned it into a sunroom instead.” – Mary
While change can be scary, don’t be afraid to step away from tradition if you know it’ll suit you and your family best. Best of all, nixing a room altogether may even save you some cash at closing, and changing it down the room could be a costly reno.
Already have a space that isn’t being utilized to its full potential? This space above used to be an office! 😍😱🤯 Proof that anything is possible if you have the vision.
3. Design some tall kitchen cabinets to transform your kitchen.
Where you can, add tall kitchen cabinets that go all the way to your ceiling (or as high as the manufacturer will make them). These will also provide ample storage space and will make your kitchen look much more custom. It’s house-building mistakes like these you won’t want to skimp on.
“We had short cabinets in our new kitchen. With 10′ ceilings, this left us with two feet of open space that didn’t do us any good. I would have rather had added storage.” – Sara
Hip Tip: Now you need to fill all of those cabinets with these kitchen gadgets that you didn’t even know you needed until now!
4. Your friends and family need space for their winter coats and jackets – don’t make the same house building mistakes we did!
Make sure you have sufficient storage for winter gear and coats. Whether you plan to host large family dinners or invite just a few friends over, having some space for their stuff when they come in is important, too, and something as little as a coat closet is one of many house-building mistakes that is often overlooked.
“We mistakenly built our house without a coat closet or a place to hang coats and organize shoes. BIG mistake! It was so annoying when guests came over, as there was nowhere for them to drop their stuff. My office (which was the first room by the front door) became the dumping ground for shoes and coats.” – Collin
5. Adding electrical for TVs, lighting switches, and ceiling fans will save money down the road.
Adding light fixtures, boxes for wall-mounted TVs and other electrical necessities down the road can mean tearing into your beautiful walls and additional electrical work. Plus, all of the above add a huge expense to your installation bill.
These are all easy and fairly inexpensive house-building mistakes you won’t want to make while you’re building. Make sure to think ahead about how you plan to decorate and live in each room. And while you’re at it, make sure to request dimmer switches to really set the scene.
“I’ve had to add so much in-ceiling lighting to our home because it had almost none – and it can be a lot of drywall work and tying in electricity. It’s just too dark without it, and the difference is amazing!” – Lina
Hip Tip: Did you already build and need new lighting? Check out how Lina frugally installed a wall sconce in minutes without any wires at all!
6. Having walls & floor outlets everywhere will improve a room’s functionality.
Speaking of electrical, make sure to add additional outlets in places that really matter. The right placement (or having enough outlets in general) will be a large factor in how well you utilize each and every room in your new home.
Plan out where you’ll be putting furniture, lamps, etc., and think about places like the bathroom and how you’ll be living in and using each space daily.
“Extra outlets in the bathroom would have been nice. I have one outlet in my bathroom, and I wish I had added more! I have a warmer plugged in and my toothbrush, but I have to unplug one when I need to use the hairdryer or hubby needs to charge his razor.
An outlet in the walk-in closet would have been a great idea, too. We have two walk-in closets, and neither of them has outlets. It would be nice to charge electronics in there, or to even have an extra lamp/lighting plugged in so you can actually see your stuff.” – Chelsey
Hip Tip: Speaking of outlets, check out this outlet shelf I installed in seconds. It’s the best outlet hack ever and will free up counter space.
7. You’ll never go wrong adding more windows…ever.
Planning for too few (or too small) windows could be one of your biggest regrets. Ten times out of ten, natural light is always a good idea, and I fully believe you can never go wrong with too many windows and larger windows. Natural light makes any room feel bigger and airier so go big or go home, baby! Besides, adding them down the road tends to be costly and very inconvenient.
Hip Tip: Want more ways to make your home feel bigger? I shared the best tips to get your living room feeling larger than ever – most of the tips can even be implemented in multiple rooms of your home.
8. Ignoring light switch placement will affect the functionality of your home.
Light switches are most useful when they sync with the flow of your furniture. Go through each room on your floor plan and make sure that the switch is connected to the light you want to turn on when you walk into each room. It’s even helpful to have switches at an opposite exit.
Think of it this way when planning for light switches: You should never have to walk in darkness through a room.
Hip Tip: Doing electrical work in your existing home? Make sure to cut the power off before doing ANYTHING electrical and use a voltage tester. Always hire a professional if you’re not comfortable or knowledgeable about electrical work.
9. Doors, windows, and other permanent placements will also play a major factor in your home’s functionality.
Speaking of planning your spaces, you shouldn’t just limit yourself to making sure you have the perfect light switch placements. Knowing where your furniture will go, how doorways will be utilized, and so on can make or break a space. Take it from my Hip sidekick, Emily:
“I didn’t think about how close my countertop would be butting up to my patio door and now we have a stool right where my door opens making it impossible for someone to sit while another is trying to go outside. If I would have properly measured, I would have shortened the countertop or opted for a narrower patio door.”– Emily
10. Garden hoses are easier to use outside with more than one hose bib.
Make your outdoor living, watering, cleaning cars, etc. easier by placing hose bibs in convenient areas to avoid inconvenient house building mistakes. It’s an extremely easy add-on that could end up being a complicated and costly installation down the road.
“My husband loves to wash out the garage floors, hose off the lawnmower, etc., so it would be so nice to have a hose set up in the garage and also to have one for watering the garden. Plus, if you ever wanted to add a sink, it would be super easy to connect.” – Chelsey
11. Don’t forget the soft closing feature on your kitchen cabinets.
Some may consider this a luxury, but soft-closing cabinet hinges are going to last a lot longer than some of the cheap hinges builders tend to use. Plus, they make opening and shutting doors easier (and quieter).
Hip Tip: Speaking of kitchen cabinets, here’s how to get your spice cabinet in order in under just a few minutes.
12. Know what taxes are going to cost where you’re building or what it could cost you.
Taxes can vary drastically from county to school districts and city limits vs. suburbs. Knowing how much you’ll be paying after your home is built could make or break you once you start making your monthly payment and the very last thing you want to do is get wrapped up in a 15-30 year loan you can’t actually afford.
And remember, just because the homes are cheaper, doesn’t mean the taxes won’t be higher compared to other areas.
“We were given an estimate because we were building in a new area of an older subdivision and nobody could give us an exact estimate. Let’s just say it affected our house payment by nearly double. Everything about the house I love (so far) but those property taxes…whew!” – Jessica
13. Don’t ignore the future load of your electrical service panel.
While an electrical panel isn’t very pretty or something you’ll look at frequently, upgrading it so you don’t constantly blow fuses is a hassle you’ll want to avoid for everyday conveniences.
“Thankfully our builder recommended upgrading our service panel, as it could have cost us up to $4,000 to change later! Basically, when you have a lot of things plugged in, you require more amps, so upgrading your electrical panel when you build saves you from blowing fuses. This is super nice if you have an unfinished basement that you plan on finishing, want to put a shop in your garage, etc.” – Chelsey
14. Throwing your dirty wash down a laundry chute gives parents a free hand.
Not that a laundry chute needs any explaining, but I love how Lina took hers a step further and even incorporated her chute as a part of her overall bathroom design, making it fit seamlessly in the bathroom vanity. Just know too, that it’s a fairly easy DIY down the road if the floorplan of your house supports your idea if you opt not to add it to your build.
“We installed a laundry chute when we realized our laundry room was right below our bathroom. We were able to conveniently disguise it by placing it in as a cabinet at the sink. I would totally recommend this addition to anyone building to save from moving any plumbing, electrical, etc. down the road. It has been so amazing with the kids and makes doing laundry so much easier.” – Lina
Hip Tip: We love doing laundry now that we discovered what laundry stripping is! 😱🤯
15. Skip the cheap upgrades and opt for high-quality materials later on.
Certain upgrades aren’t worth the price you have to pay to get them while building (and the quality isn’t always up to par). Go with standard builder options, then upgrade things like flooring and light fixtures on your own so you’re sure to get exactly what you want for the price you want.
“When we built our house, we weren’t really keen on paying for anything extra as it was our first house and were trying to save every penny. However, now that we’ve lived here for 5+ years, I’m realizing that the carpet already needs to be replaced because they generally use the cheapest possible carpet unless you upgrade.” – Chelsey
In another light, there are some who find it more valuable to go the route of upgrading finishes from the beginning…
“In my experience, ‘builder grade’ is synonymous with ‘disposable’. Don’t settle for builder grade appliances, flooring, paint… anything…they’re the biggest house-building mistakes you could make! Even if you’re building on a tight budget, I think it’s a better investment to take the credit they offer for those items and apply it towards an upgrade. Otherwise, you’ll just be upgrading on your own dime in a few short years down the road.” – Jenna
16. But whatever you do, never hire someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Already living in your home? If you’re planning to hire contractors for an upcoming project or two make sure to do your due diligence to be sure they’re experienced enough for the job. Preferably licensed too. Take it from Lina’s personal experience:
“It’s tempting when someone says they can start work right away and their bid comes in cheap, but just don’t hire unlicensed contractors. We know better (I mean, my husband is in construction 😂) but we somehow managed to get people years ago who installed expensive hardwood floors wrong and it can’t be fixed due to the extensive splitting EVERYWHERE. They are no longer a company and insurance doesn’t care, so in short, we learned a very hard and expensive lesson ($10,000 to be exact😭).” – Lina
17. Walls, doors, and hallways, oh my! Open up your spaces instead of closing them off.
While most people already seek an open floor plan when building, make sure you’re using all of your available square footage and eliminating unnecessary use of square footage – like hallways.
“I would have planned for fewer hallways so our living spaces would be larger. I would have rather had a big playroom that opens up to bedrooms instead of 100 square feet of passages.” – Jamie
18. Keep all the paint cans to avoid costly paint jobs in the future.
Always make sure to keep all your paint cans, colors, and/or a list of exactly what you used (including the finish) for future reference. This will save you from potential paint match fails or having to redo an entire room unexpectedly.
“We have a nice-sized square in our living room that we thought matched the existing paint we already had in another room. Turns out it’s slightly darker than the paint and we had thrown out so now we’re stuck having to repaint the entire space.” – Chelsey
19. Not considering the kid factor is a huge house building mistake for many parents to be.
If you plan on having kids and are building a forever home, it helps to understand how children use space differently than adults. Spending time with kids of family and friends (and talking to the parents) will help you understand what’s important so you can use your space wisely and avoid some of the biggest house building mistakes that you could potentially make.
“Oh my gosh. I totally wish we would have had our kids first because we didn’t think ahead about a lot of things! LOL! Our biggest mistake was actually the placement of our master bedroom. It’s above our living room, and everything is hardwood.
Plus, my husband works nights 6 months out of the year, so we constantly struggle with everything being too loud. Had our room been placed in a better area, I know this wouldn’t be such an issue.” – Jessica
20. Take advantage of builders for built-in features while they’re in your home.
When building a home, it’s common for contractors to make suggestions about your home’s development. If you want to get a second opinion, definitely do so; however, if you agree with the contractor, let them do the work while they’re already working on your home! It’s better to do it all at once and will probably save you money in the long run.
“It’s probably a no brainer to some, but, when moving my laundry to the first floor, the contractor suggested to make a half wall to hold all the plumbing; this way, it wouldn’t be on an exterior wall as risk freezing — I said, ‘yes, let’s do it.’ He then suggested to build an identical half wall on the other side so both machines could nest between them making it easy for a countertop install down the road. Why, oh, whyyyy I insisted for them NOT to add the second wall is beyond me. I thought, ‘oh, if I end up wanting that, I’ll build it…’ and this is coming from someone who has never built a half wall before.
Needless to say, it would have probably taken them all of 5 minutes to get that half wall up while everything was in the construction phase. And it was *their* suggestion, so I would have been wise to have listened since they had done this is many homes prior. Plus, it probably wouldn’t have added much to project cost, or anything at all.
I have the supplies now, but it’s taken me 2 years (and counting) to get the motivation to start this project lol! ” – Emily
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Your suggestions were interesting to read even if I don’t agree with all of them. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. The suggestion about a big enough coat closet is something I wholeheartedly agree with though! I am older and have lived in many different houses in my life. Each one has taught me things I really liked about each one and things I don’t. A small coat closet is definitely not desirable. I am spending time at home during COVID looking at house plans planning our final one story retirement home. One thing I cannot help but notice is how many home plans do not even have a coat closet. I find this strange. (Are you listening home designers?) Many of the ones that do have a coat closet, have one that is far too small. We are currently living with a small coat closet and my dream retirement home plan will have a nice large coat closet.
Good suggestions about getting the electrical system to meet all your needs and the need for plenty of planning before the house is built. I agree. Our final home will but fully wired with Ethernet in each room. We do not use wireless ANYTHING due to health concerns. This will certainly take some advance planning. What I don’t agree with is installing dimmer switches. These are really simple to install later but the downside of dimmer switches is the amount of EMFs they produce. We installed one in our current home and took it out once we learned of the dangers of EMFs and where they can be a problem in a home. Don’t believe me? Buy a EMF meter and check it out for yourself. That’s what we did.
My dream home plan will have the following and all my criteria comes from what I have learned from the different houses we have lived in.
My kitchen will have a triple bowl sink – preferably stainless steel. This sink will look out into the living area so my husband who does the dishes can watch TV while cleaning up. He’s a big fan of TV! It will have plenty of counter space and drawers with lots of under cabinet lighting. What it won’t have is a dishwasher. We don’t use it. It takes too long for 2 people to fill up a dishwasher. Since we stopped using one, we no longer have a problem with ants. I will also not have a microwave. We don’t use them – ever. Want to change the molecular structure of your food so your body has no idea what you just ate? Just microwave it.
I want a really large pantry – preferably walk-in but please no window in it – just very good lighting.
All the plumbing in my dream home will be on an inside wall. Less chance of pipes freezing that way.
I will skip the formal dining room but have looked at plans with a formal dining room with the idea of turning it into an office.
A large screened-in porch off the kitchen is a must! Also our garage will be detached! The toxic fumes coming from an attached garage can be harmful to your health – another feature I hope home designers will take a look at.
And the one thing I want that I don’t see anyone mentioning is what I would call a Christmas tree closet. A friend of mind once shared this idea with me and I thought it was simply brilliant! I want a space near the living area where I can just wheel a fully decorated Christmas tree into, then shut the door until the holidays roll around again. I have found multiple plans where I would turn a powder room into a Christmas tree closet. Should be cheaper to build, less toilets and sinks to clean and holidays just got a whole lot easier!
Speaking of powder room, I don’t want one. Two bathrooms in a home is plenty enough for a retired couple. I prefer not to be cleaning bathrooms in my old age. We moved from a house with four of them to our current home with 2 1/2. One less bathroom to clean would be even better. I would even be quite happy with one sink in the master bath as long as the vanity had plenty of storage drawers. Definitely no spa tub wanted and a nice walk in shower is much more preferable. We have a large Jacuzzi in our current home that is in reality a great big hole in our master bath that just collects dust. I often look at that thing wishing it was another closet! If we really want to take a bath in our two bath retirement home, we can use the tub in the main bath.
And your suggestion for lots of windows is not something I would opt for. Yes, natural light is nice BUT it comes at the cost of efficiency of a home not to mention all the money you will spend to now control the amount of light and heat loss those extra windows will have. Think higher heating and cooling costs. Window treatments are not cheap either. We currently live in a townhouse with 32 windows. I don’t particularly want to be keeping all those windows clean in my old age either. Any windows we do have will defiantly have to tilt in both top and bottom for easy cleaning. I find myself removing windows when I look at house plans. I just pray we never have to replace all 32 windows in our current home. Another added bonus of less windows is you have more wall space for furniture placement.
So as you can imagine, what works for one family might not work for another. Still I think this is a great conversation to have because it makes one think carefully before settling on a home plan that might have some disappointments in the end. Thanks so much for your thoughts!
I can say I would not want to live in the home you have described! Sounds like you do not entertain or have any guests over, so you are correct, different things for different people! Good luck with your final retirement home. Fumes, chemicals, etc.
Thanks…I was like…um…to each their own.
Ok, the Christmas tree cupboard is GENIUS! even if I unfortunately do not have the space for that into he house we are building now. However, we are building an energy neutral home and in order to do so we in fact are required to have enormous windows. In fact, our north side has nearly no wall space. I can also attest to the eddiciench of this as we live in a flat with a wall of windows south facing and I rarely even turn on our heating in winter. But of course, you need to live in a sunny area which perhaps you do not….
I have always wanted a Christmas tree room – you are the only other person I have ever heard say they want one!!!! Joanne from Australia
I used to work as a CNA. I used give our senior citizen patients showers at home. If I may suggest, having a bath tub with a bathtub shower chair is a lot easier & safer on both the patient & the caregiver than having to walk in to a shower stall with a chair to sit on.
I totally agree about the microwave. We just remodeled our kitchen and the cabinet maker was aghast at the fact that I did not need a spot for a microwave. Years ago I found out that it literally kills your food and we immediately stopped using it. We’re told we can kill all the germs from toothbrushes and sponges in the microwave…imagine what it does to food. Don’t miss it at all, we’ve learned to live without it and its not a big deal. And it saves on kitchen space.
But I can’t imagine having a closet just for the Christmas tree!! haha!!
If I were to build a home I’d put a dome style skylight in every room. We had one put in one of our bathrooms that doesn’t have a window and it is so nice. Natural light that comes in from above rather than a side window really gives a different vibe to the room.
You want to eat live food?!
I DREAM of the Christmas tree closet! Your description exactly matches what I’ve told my husband for years that I want. I am allergic to real trees so I have to have an artificial one but dragging it out gets harder and harder each year. Not to mention I probably have 1000 ornaments; I would love to leave them on permanently. I mentioned this to my friends when they were building their house. They put a closet under their staircase. The front is a coat closet but the back panel comes out and that’s where they keep their fully decorated Xmas tree. I admit, I’m jealous!
I also agree with you on the 1/2 baths and large bathtubs – I find both to be rather useless. If I ever get to build, I would have 2 water closets (his and hers toilets) and a giant shower. Although I do need to keep my own vanity. Hubby doesn’t keep his clean enough for me! LOL
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Always great to hear from people in different phases of life and we can apply what works for us now and think about what we will need in the future.
I’m with April on many of these issues (big sink, big coat closet, etc.) I always ask when they make these no closet places, where is your Christmas tree? (yes, I know everyone does not celebrate it, but it can hold your winter sweaters, your gym equipment, your 4th of July lights, your wiccan candles, whatever.) I will take all the bathrooms you can give me LOL. But double vanities and bathtubs are overrated. One tub in the main is good. How often are you really brushing your teeth at the same time as your mate? A large shower stall that one can roll into is a dream of mine having learned from caring for my aged mother. For the reasons April gave I also am not a fan of a zillion windows. It’s escaping heat and makes it hard to change paint colors. Three times as long to tape up edges, too much to clean, icky. I want a sofa wall where I can put a sofa and a large painting behind it. I don’t need the neighbors to see what’s on my TV or on my dresser. Dining room hutch needs to go someplace. And as a book…let’s say enthusiast…, I need bookshelves way more than windows. High up transom windows with frosted glass would let in light and foil nosy people with drones (ok a little paranoia never hurt anyone). All houses need more electrical plugs with phones, tablets, and laptops constantly needing charging–plus printers, speakers, etc.
Finally glass front doors are pointless. Pretty, but pointless. I want security. If someone is crashing in my door, they will need a battering ram not a hammer. A little “The Wizard will see you now window” so I can check out who is there without opening it will do nicely. 🙂
April, terrific ideas, thank you
Interesting how different our needs are. We are building our dream retirement home. We will have a big open great room with a dining room to meet the needs of big family gatherings. Lots of windows are a must. My Christmas tree will be in a walk in guest bedroom closet. And lots of garage space.
We are currently planning our last home build to retire in. For us, a front porch is a must! Since I love to cook, a large pantry is a biggie (and rarely on home plans!) While we are healthy now, the future may be different…so we are making hallways bigger with 36″ doors everywhere. Since we will not be adding a basement this time, a 3rd garage is a must! Here are a few other ideas: overhead lights above showers and tubs; electrical outlets in the floor of your great room; a large tub sink with your washer and dryer; make half of your kitchen bar higher with higher barstools so no one can see your dishes in the sink; make sure the light above your eating area is centered to the table; blinds in the patio doors; water spigot next to garage, on sides of house and by back patio; Motion floodlights at each corner of the house (roof); Light pole by sidewalk in front of the house; ample lighting on front porch; his and her sinks and closets; Large shower vs garden tub. I hope this helps!
I designed and built the home that I am presently living in. The only thing that I have discovered that I would change is the controls for the water in the shower. Since the large shower has a fixed rainfall shower head it would have been nice to have had the off/on and temperature regulation on the opposite wall from the shower head. It does not take an overwhelming amount of money to do this and saves a person from having to gasp every time the shower head blasts out an initial stream of cold.
Back in the late 60s, my parents knew a retiring couple that built in a Christmas tree closet. Clever people. We are builders and have left the suburbs for 10 acres in the mountains….fresh air, clean well water, great people, no traffic and less stress. We opted for a steel building. My husband is a green builder so an energy package with high quality windows and insulation package, LED lighting, etc, is essential—it’s what we use In the starter homes we build. Not all builder standards are equal.
Sounds great! I love the country! Tell me about the steel building option? Green builder is so interesting…Do they have any in New England?
Drop me a line if you can…Thanks Edie
I made sure to have electric outlets in my master closet(where we keep ironing board) and my walk in pantry because we’ve always used a cordless vacuum for the kitchen I do wish we had had a bigger porch poured
You left out calculating what it will cost to heat/light/cool your home. It’s always easier to build in energy efficiency from the get go. Look at the long term costs and get second opinions on big purchases ike furnaces, air conditioners and water heaters. Big cathedral ceilings? Your cubic footage will be more to heat and cool. Guest bathroom which will be seldom used? Think about a more efficient tankless water heater. Even the placement of decks and trees will determine whether your space will be comfortable in the future.
Thanks for the heads up and helpful comment, Dee! Good to know about those for sure!
I had outlets placed in the soffits of my roof to plug in my Christmas decorations. They are wired to a switch in my bathroom closet so I can turn them on & off without going out in the cold. We put in a wall of south facing windows to take advantage of the sun’s heat in the winter. It saves on heating costs. Don’t forget lots of drawer space in your kitchen. They hold more than you think. I also had under cabinet lighting installed which I really like.
Thank you so much for sharing! There are so many things you don’t think of when building a new house. Its nice to have you share things you wish were different!
You’re so very welcome! 🤗
I swear you always post exactly what I need! Just last week my house burned down so I’ve been making a list of my needs/wants for the rebuild. Between your article and everyone’s comments I’m coming up with things that I never would have thought of. Thanks!
I’m SO very sorry to hear about that, AJ. Super glad this list and the comments have been helpful. Wishing you and your family all the best for your new home! 💞❤️
So sorry to hear about your home fire. Sending positive thoughts your way.
Oh, so sorry to hear this! We lost our house to a fire four years ago. It’s a lot to go through, first the displacement, then the insurance process, and the rebuilding.
A few comments: one of our adult children just got divorced and now is paying sky high rent. We could be helping her much more if I’d thought more about the basement as additional living space.
I really wish I’d had plumbing roughed-in for a future bathroom in the basement while we had plumbers here.
Also had at least one of the basement windows big enough to use as a second egress (required for a basement unit to be legal here) this is done by having an extra deep window well.
It is much easier to keep moisture out of foundation walls from the onset by insulating the exterior prior to backfilling than to mitigate moisture inside the cellar using dehumidifiers and other methods. (Although an electric heat pump water heat will suck moisture out.)
Use sound insulation between floors if others are using rooms above yours. You’ll never regret it.
Consider making the house handicap friendly, levers instead of knobs, wide doorways, flat thresholds, etc.
I love having dimmers!
I have a couple little things that I did when we built our house the someone never thinks about. Kitchen– at least 1 deep/extra deep drawer for potato chip bags so you don’t have to store them on your counter. At least 1 cabinet to store your upright mixer/crock pot and any other large appliance you don’t want sitting out all the time. Garage-a place to put a laundry sink to wash dirty shoes, gardening item or things you don’t want to have to haul in the house and are to difficult to wash outside with the hose.
ALL drawers in your kitchen lowers is the best idea EVER! So much easier than digging through a cave 😉
We built in 2018 and some of the things we love is adding outlets to our roof for Christmas lights. The switch is in the garage, so out of the way. We also added a bay window, making our family room look a lot bigger. I also upgraded to quartz countertops for the kitchen. I will never go back! I cook/bake a lot, so kitchen functionality is a must. We also upgraded to a double oven and touch kitchen faucet. I actually opted against the tall cabinets and glad I did. I have a hard time reaching the cabinets we have, so taller cabinets would never be used. We have an open concept and I wish we didn’t. We have two girls (age 13 and 9) and the open concept makes everything so loud. We made the design to where our kids are upstairs and the master is downstairs. At our last home, I fell off the stairs (6ft straight on concrete, landing on my back) going to do laundry, so we made it to where the laundry room is next to our bedroom. We also added a corner tub to the master bathroom and I don’t regret it at all. I workout a lot and it’s nice to relax in it after. One last thing we are thankful for is that the toilet is not by the vanity in the master bathroom.
or….don’t contribute to more pollution and buy an existing home? maybe that comes from living with a scientist, but I do believe in not building a new home (for my family anyway).
Unfortunately, California has been burning up in fires. I think new construction will be needed.
I wish I had a mud room or space for a drop off zone for coats, boots, bookbags, shoes, and etc, especially when it snows.
I wish that I had a bigger closet in the kitchen area. The one I have barely holds a broom and a hook to hang aprons. No good place to store the full-size vacuum cleaner. It’s heavy and I hate lugging it from an inconvenient spot. When we wanted to renovate our bathrooms, every contractor we talked to wanted to take out the bathtubs and replace them with showers. Ever tried to give a toddler a bath in the shower? Every house needs at least one bathtub.
We put a hook in the master shower with a handheld shower next to it: dog wash! We can attach the dogs to a short leash to the hook and then wash them with their mess going down the drain.
We built our first home without looking at a plan or model. So, when building our current home we made sure to have a plan. We didn’t made actual mistakes, just our needs changed over time. We did build a 3 car garage and completely finished it. There is a heater for winter and ceiling fans for summer. A utility sink and epoxy floor finish. My husband built a work bench area under the 3 windows and a storage cabinet 5′ wide and to the ceiling. He added pull down steps to the garage attic which has a floor for tons of storage. 3 yrs ago he built a platform entry to the house( no more painted steps) which is finished in wood look vinyl planks and upgraded the slab steel entry door to one with a window and screen. This created a super cross breeze thru the kitchen. When we entertain everyone enters thru the garage! It’s like a second foyer!
We were scared to death of unknown costs when we built our home 7 years ago. It was sort of our plan B since we could not find a home to purchase. I would really encourage people to keep things super affordable during these uncertain times. You can add some of the fancy stuff later. Get the space that you need now. I agree with the concept of open floor plans and not wasting space. We told our builder not to waste space, and they came up with a great plan. Stay as close to budget as you possibly can. It’s not worth it to default on your loan.
I’m seeing a lot of posts about retiring but no one seems to mention building doorways that can accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Large showers are great if they are flush with the floor and wide enough to accommodate a bench and a caregiver. Mobility should be considered when drawing up plans. Make aging easier.
For those think about walk in shower I would suggest heated floors. It get cold when you are wet come out of the shower. I am planning to have a heat source in the bath room or at least a towel warming rack.
Nancy I just built a handicap accessible home. Other things to consider. Laminate floors is a must especially for a wheelchair. Zero Step entry for the garage and front door. I also put in sliding doors in my bedroom bathroom closet in lu of traditional doors. Of course Wider openings. Grab bars in at least the mst bathroom. Zero entry shower is a God send
These changes cost me 20K plus the cost of laminet floors but worth it. I will also write ogf these changes as home modifications as a medical expenses on my taxes.
While we haven’t built our own home, I do work in buildings & maintenance. Any time you plan to have work done from a contractor for your home, please, please, PLEASE ask to see their license and certificate of insurance (COI). This will save your hide and your budget down the road. As the customer, you have the right to view this info. If they’re not ready & willing to provide it, start looking elsewhere.
Thanks so much for the helpful suggestion and warning, Amy! ❤️
I love this idea too, Lisa! I have one lower cabinet that has a pull out, and I love it! So smart! 🙌💞
Make every single room 25% larger. Hire a great builder. Don’t sweat paint colors, faucets, carpet, tile etc… pay attention to where light switches are, outlets, furniture layouts. I can’t even fit a twin bed that’s not in front of a door or window in my one 10×12 bedroom. Also, don’t stack staircases ours looks weird. It was not cantilevered, and we can’t fix it. That will not show up as weird on the house plans. Our builder was using one house’s money to finish the previous house. Let’s say we are lucky our house got finished. We were the last house “done” He left houses half built. He was building higher end houses and then ours and showed them off to us when we were planning which builder to choose. It was all show. I will say I love my house, but some of the things nag at me every day.
Thanks for taking a moment to share these helpful tips, smoresto! I would have to agree on the light switch and outlets! I’m so glad my husband and I didn’t choose to build our first home, because we really didn’t know how we would utilize different spaces – and now we have a better idea! For example, we absolutely love having outdoor outlets in certain spaces along our patio, and even one in our pantry (not a walk-in, but still neat!) I wouldn’t have thought of those things had we built. So sorry to hear about your builder’s plan, but glad yours was finished and you’re loving it still! 🏡💕
I would also add to make the garage bigger then most builders recommend. There’s not worse than a small garage where you can’t even open your door to get out without hitting the other vehicle or wall. Most builders make garages way too small.
Great suggestion, Klp! Thanks so much for mentioning this! 🚗🤗