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I Wish I'd Thought of That! (Part I) 

Building your custom dream home is an incredible journey.

It really is a journey. It will certainly be an exciting one. But, at times, it can be a bit frustrating. At the end you should have the home you've always dreamed of. In order to make that journey a successful one, with as few bumps as possible, there are many things to consider. Certainly not all of the ideas that follow need to be implemented; but, at least they should be considered. These ideas are meant to help you think of the details. There are few things worse than after moving in to your new home to suddenly be hit between the eyes with the realization: "I wish I'd thought of that"!

Plan now. Plan often. Keep adding ideas to your list over time.

There are so many things to be considered in building a new home that the list can be super-long. New ideas will pop into your mind well after you've begun your list. Keep writing them down and reviewing them. Look in home design magazines. Rip out the pages with your favorite design ideas. Keep these pages. Write down the ideas. Add them to your list.

Because of the large number of ideas we have, we will present them in three areas to immediately follow (as separate articles in this series): 

  1. The Exterior of the home.
  2. The Interior of the home.
  3. The Framework of the home.

These lists are certainly not all-inclusive! (This is like a disclaimer.) But, these items will certainly get you thinking and be well on your way to designing your custom dream home.

It's much better if all these decisions (and those you've thought of on your own) are made prior to contract and actual construction begins. Change orders can be difficult and expensive. So, let the journey begin!

The Exterior of the Home

Here is our starter list of things to consider on the exterior. Again, this list is not all-inclusive but should serve as a great starting point for your own ideas. Make notes on each of these plus your own ideas. Make notes on your decisions. You'll also find your ideas and decisions can be fluid. So, keep your list and notes updated.

Now, let's get started!

  • House style.  Review books showing home plans.  Get ideas; not just of exteriors, but of interior floor plans also.
  • In choosing a custom home style, consider the neighborhood / community / regional styling of homes. 
  • Is it primarily Federalist, Georgian Revival, Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, Ranch, Tudor, Tuscan, South of France, Bungalow, Key West, Farm House, Cape Cod, etc., etc. 
  • Consider the future.  At some point you (or your heirs) may be selling this custom home. 
  • It should fit in well with the style of the neighborhood.  Don’t go on the cheap side.  Don’t go way overboard for the neighborhood either.
  • Basement, single level, two stories, split level?  These can make a big difference whether a house will fit on the lot and/or the placement of the house.
  • Roof: style, slope, overhangs, asphalt shingle, roof tiles (concrete, clay, or…) metal, shake
  • Neighborhood rules (like CC&R’s and/or HOA).  Read, understand, abide by the rules.  For some people this can be a significant factor regarding where to build.
  • Will the custom home be build of brick, concrete block, frame, stucco, siding, shake, stone, etc.
  • Footprint / placement of custom home on lot.  Remember setbacks and easements.  Consider access, sun exposure, etc.
  • Lot border: fence, wall, or?
  • Screen wall or fence around air conditioning compressor or other equipment.
  • Hose bibs: locations.  Freeze-proof required?
  • Exterior electrical outlets: locations, waterproof, GFI.
  • Stub out natural gas outlet for BBQ, etc.  Location.
  • Garage – double, triple, tandem, more?
  • Exterior man door from Garage to yard
  • Style of Garage Door. 
  • Design and material for driveway and entrance sidewalk
  • Plastic conduit or pipe under driveway / entrance sidewalk for electrical, sprinkler, drip system, miscellaneous.
  • 10’ to 12’ gate to backyard?  Style of gate.
  • Man-gate(s) to backyard.  Style of gate.
  • Wire for lights to mailbox and both sides of driveway.  Put on photocell circuit?
  • Access & runs to house for utilities; including electrical, water, sewer (or septic), phone, cable, etc.
  • Exterior (landscape) lighting at entrance of home, garage, porch, elsewhere.  Put on photocell circuit?
  • Entryway design
  • Landscaping: general plan.  Sketch a plan out.  Include trees, shrubs, grass, sidewalks, ground covers, etc., etc. 
  • Get help from a professional.  Don’t skimp on landscaping, especially as seen from the street.  It can make a real difference. 
  • Many construction loans can include funds for landscaping (you may need professional plans and cost estimate). 

That does it for the Exterior. Now explore the articles on the Interior and then the Framework. Enjoy your journey! You're laying the foundation for your Custom Dream Home!

One of the jobs of your builder is to review ideas like these to get your precise input on how he should build your home. Get a head start. Start working on your own list so you are not blindsided later.

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Chandler, AZ 85248
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