Choosing the right house plan

When we begin to think of building a home, we begin to dream.  We scour the internet for house plans.  We become addicted to home improvement shows.  We find ourselves drawing rough floorplan sketches on napkins and pieces of scrap paper, as we attempt to explain to whomever will listen what the ‘perfect’ house plan would entail.  During this exciting stage, it’s important to remember some of the basics that can get missed while we plan and dream.  The following are things to consider before deciding on that final house plan:

  • What is your next life stage?  Whether you’re a first time home buyer who is looking to start a family someday, a family of three who may add one more or an empty nester on the cusp of retirement, each has different elements to consider, and can dictate things in your home that you may not have considered.  If you are thinking of a baby someday, ensuring that your home has the components in place early on for baby proofing can save you a lot of hassle, for example having door knobs installed instead of levers is a must.  If you’re an empty nester looking to build your retirement home, having additional aging in place measures implemented can make it easier for you to live comfortably in your home in the future.  If you are building a two storey, ensuring that you have closets built on each floor over one another, allows for an easier installation of an elevator someday, if need be.   

  • How much space do you really need?  Bigger isn’t always better, and implementing useful space instead of generalized space is important, particularly when keeping costs down.  Using attic space for storage, and finishing basement space instead of building an extra floor are two ways to maximize your space.  Larger spaces also require more heating, maintenance and property taxes which should also be considered.  Reviewing how much space you will need now and possibly in the future is key and should be one of the first things you consider when you begin the initial planning. 

  • Will your home plan be easy to sell in the future?  So you decided to build your dream home, a six bathroom, 2 bedroom home with a volleyball court, no dining room and six levels of stairs.  While this home may fit you in every way, how easy will it be for you to sell in the future?  Ensuring that your home has elements desirable to more than just you demonstrares that the home isn’t just a home but also a wise investment decision. 

  • Does your home style fit in the neighbourhood, are there Architectural Guidelines?  You may have not chosen a place to live yet, but knowing the versatility of your plan is important.  More and more communities are governing the allowable home styles, and if you find a community that fits you perfectly, you may have to sacrifice that exterior façade to comply.  Luckily, many home plans can be modified so that they can work in any community.