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House Plans: Future-Proof Your Custom Home

Building a custom home on your land is all about getting what YOU want, not what some builder thinks you should have. But, there are so many things to think about, how do you know you covered it all? Here's how to think it through so you won't have regrets after you move in.

Creating a house plan for your custom home involves 2 main elements: how you live now, and how you might live in the future.

The here and now

Ask yourself how you live now, which will tell you a lot about how many rooms you need, where they should be in relation to each other, how big they should be, etc. Since you've already had some event or discovery in your life that is making you want something more, this part is pretty easy.

Potential issues

Where the potential for regret comes in is where you don't think about some aspect of future life and wish you had once you've moved into your brand-new custom home that you worked so hard for.

Here's an example:

I built my own home when we had a toddler and a baby on the way. It made perfect sense to put the spare bedroom across the hall from the master bedroom, because the new baby could sleep there until he or she was old enough to move upstairs. Great idea...

Then, a few years later, my sister-in-law came to visit, and she stayed in the spare bedroom. How convenient that I could wave to her from my own bedroom across the hall, without having to even move! Ugh. Bad planning, and as a home builder, I'm supposed to know better.

Here's another story:

I built a home for a family that bought a wakeboard boat about 2 years later, and they discovered that the boat was about 2 inches too tall to fit under the top of the garage door. Grrrr... We could have put in a door that was a foot taller for less than $500 at the time we were building. Nobody thought of that.

Your future planning

Now, only you and your family know enough about your lives and what you might want to do in the future to really think through the possibilities and come up with ideas that help future-proof your house plan. But, here are a few things to think about, based on what our clients have suggested and / or done:

  • -Build a closet big enough for a gun safe. 
  • -Will you need a robust home security system? Add the wiring for it while you're building. You can install the guts later.
  • -One client put in a sensor under his gravel drive that alerts when a car drives up. He got it on Amazon.
  • -One of my favorites: a floor drain in the middle of the back porch that allowed the family to hose off the dog (or the kids) without making a muddy mess around the edge of the porch. The drain just carries the water away to a spot out in the yard.
  • -Measure your truck, both height and length. Make sure the garage door is tall enough and the garage is deep enough.
  • -How reliable is the electricity where your land is? Think about wiring for a generator transfer switch. Like the security system, at least have it wired up and ready to go. You can install the equipment later (in other words, you don't have to pay the builder to do it).
  • -Will you build a separate shop at some point? Have the builder add a conduit from the electrical panel to the outside so you can pull wire to serve the shop later. Better yet, go ahead and run enough wire so all you have to do is hook it up when you're ready.
  • -Same as above for plumbing, if you think you might want a shop sink or a bathroom in your shop.
  • -Set up your patio for future outdoor living... maybe run the natural gas or propane pipe out there; leave room to build a fire pit or even an outdoor fireplace. Lots of options for later if you plan for it up front.

These are just a few things to think about to help future-proof your custom floor plan, so you won't regret it later when you've built your forever home and start wishing you could do it over.

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