How to plan what you need in a new home

Buying a new home is a big step for most people, building one is a whole other ball game. You’re not just picking a location and moving in; you’re part of the decision making process and get to make structural choices without major renovations. These choices can have an impact on the short- and the long-term longevity of your home. You want something that fits your needs in the next 5-10 years, but also has room to grow into something more if you need it. Try asking yourself these questions if you’re considering building a new house:

  • How many bedrooms do you need? Keep in mind that families grow; having an extra bedroom or two isn’t a bad idea if you anticipate having kids in the future.
  • How many bathrooms do you need? Everyone knows that not having enough bathrooms can be a real pain.
  • Do you need a home office? Do you plan on working from home? Or, do you just need a secluded space where you can go recharge on your own?
  • How many common spaces do you need? Living rooms, dining rooms, family rooms and outside spaces all need to be accounted for in the planning stages, so you have plenty of room to spend time together and entertain guests.
  • How much parking do you need? If you’re a family that loves their cars, you may want a larger garage or extra parking spaces outside.
  • Do you have any family members with mobility issues? Does a specific floor plan work better for you? Consider whether you want stairs in your home or perhaps an elevator.
  • What kind of storage do you require?
  • Do you want a fireplace? If so, do you want wood burning or gas?
  • Are you looking to reduce your carbon footprint with solar panels or other energy efficient additions?

On top of these considerations, there are also lifestyle and location questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Do you have kids or are you planning to?
  • Are you getting close to retirement? Would a bungalow work better than a two-storey if your mobility becomes restricted?
  • Do you have an older parent who may come live with you at some point?
  • What sort of neighbourhood do you want to live in? Do you want to grow with the neighbourhood, or do you want something more established?
  • Where do you work? What is the commute like?
  • Where are the nearest schools?
  • What kind of recreation facilities are nearby? Are there parks, playgrounds, arenas or swimming pools close by?
  • How far are you from family and friends?

As you can see, buying and building a new home goes far beyond the number of rooms you want. However, it can be a very rewarding experience; you and your family will be living in the home you planned, paid for and designed to your exact specifications.