5 Things to Think About When Planning Your Home Design

Carefully planning your home design is important. It can be an exciting time when you are thinking about remodeling or expanding your existing space, or building new. It can also be a frustrating time if you have not carefully thought your plans through. Things to consider:

1. How much of this do you really want to do yourself?

While you can do a lot of the research yourself, enlisting the help of a professional home design firm will mean you can concentrate more on the decisions about colors and materials, and less about the logistics of getting the necessary permits, paperwork, and professionals in place to do the work as needed. An experienced team can suggest options and give you an idea of costs based on the size of your space and other preferences. While you will need to factor in paying for their services, they may actually save you some money in the long run. You can benefit from their knowledge, experience, and selective network of contractors.

2. What is your budget?

Yes, you need to have a budget in mind. This doesn't mean you can't have your dream home design, but it may mean you make some adjustments: cut back in areas that are less important so you can indulge in areas that are most important. Will you need to take out a construction or equity loan in order to pay the expenses? Don't forget about the cost of items to furnish or decorate your space, since an empty room really isn't that useful!

Once you've determined your budget and know you will need a loan, go ahead and get pre-qualified with a bank or other lending institution. That way, there won't be any surprises along the way or at closing time when expenses become due.

3. Where is your space located?

If you are remodeling within your existing space, this probably is not as much of a consideration. However, if you are expanding or building new, you definitely will need to have your lot evaluated. You should consider the grading of your lot or if any additional grading will be needed, such as for a basement area. If the lot is heavily wooded, consider how many trees and root systems have to be removed. Are there any low areas on the lot? If so, you will need to make sure your plans work around those areas so there are no issues of standing water.

4. What areas are most important?
Think about some of your personal preferences with the kind of space you want. Do you want a garage? If so, do you want 1-car, 2-car or larger garage? What about a bonus room or recreation space for the kids? If you have a large family or plan on entertaining, a spacious kitchen and dining area may be important. Think about outside areas, too, such as a porch or deck area, and if you want any portion of them covered.

5. What style do you prefer?

What is your basic home design preference? Think about if you want a ranch style, two-story, a modern look, or maybe a traditional style home? Whatever material you envision for the exterior, you will still have a range of options and looks to choose from whether it's brick, cement or aluminum siding, wood, stone, or a combination of several. You will also want to keep in mind how your plans fit with the other residences in the area.

These are just a few of the considerations you want to think about when planning your home design. Look through a variety of plans and go visit model homes if possible, just to make sure what you are thinking is the right fit for you and your family. Take the time to carefully research your different options with a professional team who can walk you through the process.