Custom design home- advice to get you started (Part 1)


There is nothing quite like the feeling of living in a custom design home, a home that you have designed precisely to match your lifestyle and particular family needs. Armed with the correct information and the right professional help, your perfectly designed custom dream home is well within the reach of many second and third home owners. Our tips will help you prepare for the design process so you end up with exactly what you picture your new custom design home should be. The first part of this series involves a lot of discussion between your family members and some research to ensure you make the most of your property. The second part in the series considers more of the design details and gives you some tips on how to get things moving.


1. Know your building budget


Don’t even think about starting this process before you know what you have to spend. All too often we see people who have spent money on house plans for their new dream home, but they have neglected to check if they could afford to actually build what they have designed. Do investigate how much your current home is worth, and if necessary approach a home loan specialist to find out how much you can borrow for your new home.


2.Know your land- do your homework


 The land you are building on will be quite unique in many ways. It may be a standard house block that you will need to carefully design your home to fit within quite a restrictivecustom design home building envelope, or you may be building your home on an expansive acreage block, where you could be considering additional features like the best views, orientation of the home to maximise sun and light and minimise prevailing winds. Regardless of the size with most land you will need to consider the soil classification (this can dramatically add to your building costs), if there is a slope, Bushfire Attack Level (BAL rating), and any other restrictions such as flood prone area etc. As a good starting point refer to the Land.vic website. These characteristics of your land will help to determine your overall custom home design, and when properly considered will enable you to get the most out of your land.



3.The wish list for your custom design home


It is rare that any one person is going to have the luxury of making this list without input from other family members, and it can be a source of home design discussiongreat debate! It’s really important to get the discussion stage out of the way and know what you want/need as a family before you sit down with a builder or designer, to avoid confusion and delays. The easiest way to do this is for each major stakeholder (usually the husband and wife) to each make a separate list of what they really want or need to have included, not worrying about the order just yet. Then, still working separately number your wish list from number 1 being most important right down the list to least important. Now get together and find the common ground and try to include the most important items from each list. Keep in mind that some of this will come down to what’s possible working within your budget and land restrictions. But it’s really important to have a clear idea of your absolute needs and also your wants, to make sure your custom design home fits uniquely into your  life.


4.Evaluate your Lifestyle


These factors will follow on from your wants and needs, but encourages you to think about how you use your home now and also (importantly) how your needs may change in the future. This will provide for flexibility with how you use various rooms in your home. You may also like to note any preferences regarding the position of rooms and zoning. Often families with teenagers will opt for a zone where the teens have their bedrooms and even a rumpus/retreat, away from the other bedrooms. Other popular zoning themes are if you work late in your home office to zone the office away from the family zones to keep disruptions to a minimum. If you often have friends or family members come to stay with you, a guest suite with a bedroom, ensuite and retreat create welcome space for your visitors. It is also good to consider the use of the rooms with walls that back onto noisy appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and TV’s.


The first part of this series has provided some valuable information on how to get your custom design home started. Don’t forget to have fun with it, as the process should be enjoyable and rewarding. Once you have gone through the research and brainstorming steps listed here, I urge you read my next 4 tips in Part 2 of the series, as you will then be ready to consider the details so you can pass your ideas over to the building professionals.


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