This is blog post 2/3 on designing and building a new custom home – click [here] for part 1 and [here] for part 3 to read on about what you should consider.

When you start the process of building a custom home, the sheer number of decisions and factors you must consider can get overwhelming in a hurry. The whole idea of building a new house is to get exactly what you want but trying to balance all the different options available can get difficult and stressful.

R. L. Rider Remodeling wants the custom home process to be enjoyable and exciting, not stressful! That starts with asking the right questions from the start which is what this checklist is about. If you live in the East Lansing, Okemos, Lansing, DeWitt, or surrounding areas we can help you directly. If not, no problem, feel free to print this list and use it as a guide as you start planning your dream home and searching for a local contractor that can best help you.

It is important to remember there are tradeoffs to every decision, but by prioritizing your desires and working with an expert on budget your perfect home can become a reality.

Size –

how large you want your home to be is one of the biggest determining factors of cost. Review the questions in this section to see how much space you want & need.

  • How many people will be living full-time in your house?
  • Do you frequently host company or family members and desire additional space for that?
  • Will you currently or in the future have extended family members living with you?
  • Are you confident in the space you need or would you like adaptable space for possible future expansion too?
  • Do you have a lot of items, furniture, etc. that you want space to store?
  • Consider any special or unique spaces you would like such as a workshop, hobby area, etc.

General Home Characteristics –

these attributes apply to the home in general or could be distributed throughout multiple rooms for maximum efficiency.

  • What height ceilings do you prefer? 8’ is standard, and taller ceilings are more expensive.
  • Would you like vaulted or specialty ceilings anywhere or all flat ceilings?
  • How wide would you like the hallways to be?
  • Do you need to consider disability-accessible hallways and spaces? For the whole house, or just a specific portion of it?
  • How many entrances would you like to your home? At what locations?
  • Is an alarm system or security camera system important to you? At what locations?
  • What areas would you like to have TV and internet (Cat5e/Cat6 ethernet) outlets?
  • Do any rooms need additional insulation and/or soundproofing?
  • What type of heat will be used for the house? Air conditioning?

Layout –

answering general questions about how you’d like your custom house’s floorplan helps start the process of forming the layout.

  • Where would you like entry areas located? Any “drop zones” or built-in shelving/benches/etc.?
  • Would any of the entries get a mudroom or more formal space for storing shoes, coats, etc.?
  • How many stories will your house have? (Ranch-style with everything on one level is nice for aging homeowners, while multiple levels can effectively separate sleeping areas from living areas.)
  • Do you like open floorplans with minimal walls between the common areas such as the kitchen, dining room, and living room? Or do you prefer more strictly partitioned, formal divisions for each room?
  • Do you need a separate “mother-in-law” suite with it’s own kitchen, bath, and other facilities?
  • Do you want a master suite (bedroom, closet, bathroom) set apart from the rest of the house?
  • If you are planning on a basement, would it be a walk-out or fully enclosed?
  • Would you like a finished attic space or to use your attic for storage? What kind of access to it?
  • Would you want readily-accessible storage for books or documents?
  • Do you have art or photography that you would like displayed anywhere?

Exterior Attributes –

this section poses questions about how you’d like the exterior of your home to look and if you want any accessory buildings or additional outdoor living space.

  • What style of house do you prefer? Do you find a specific architectural style or details appealing? (Consider if those elements will suit your environment and climate conditions.)
  • Are there any details you would like around your doors, windows, trim, roofline, etc.?
  • What kind of roof do you want? Flat, gable, hipped, curved? What kind of roof covering? (If you are considering solar panels, think about what direction they would require for maximum effectiveness.)
  • What will the shape of the house be? Does that work effectively with the site you’ve chosen?
  • Will the house have vinyl or aluminum siding, stucco, brick, stone, etc.?
  • Is exterior lighting important to your new home? How much and in what locations would be ideal?
  • Do you want any outbuildings such as a storage shed, pool supply house, accessory dwelling unit (ADU), or work shop?
  • Do you want a garage? For how many cars? Any extra space for storage? Attached or detached?
  • Would you like a hot tub or pool? Where will they go?
  • Will you have a deck, patio, porch, or outdoor living area? What will you use it for primarily?
  • Would you like a 3- or 4-seasons room a.k.a. a sunroom? (Very nice for winter Vitamin D levels…)
  • Would you like any fences built or natural barriers planted before move-in?

These questions are a good place to start your custom home planning process. This is part 2 of 3, to read on to part 1 click [here] and for part 3 click [here].