Building your new home from scratch gives you the perfect opportunity to have everything the way you want. But as is often the case, too much freedom has its headaches! With nothing but a clean slate in front of you, what should you choose and what really matters? Let’s help you find out.
First up, before we explore your wants and needs, remember: when building a home, always start with the end in mind. Sooner or later you’ll sell your home, so make it resale friendly. As any real estate agent will tell you, certain features can make a significant difference to the resale value of your home, so we’ll point them out to you as we go.
One story or two?
The size of your block may determine how many storeys you’ll build. As urban infill gains popularity and block sizes diminish, a two-storey home is often a good idea. Double-storey has the advantage of freeing up space for a yard – an essential option for those that have pets or love garden, and they’re a great way of optimising views or fresh ocean breezes. Alternatively, single-storey may be better for those with joint problems or are approaching old age.
Resale tip: As a double-storey home is often immediately dismissed by seniors, building a small lift into the design is a great way to ensure that the house is suitable for a wider population – including intergenerational living.
Timeframe & time of life
Are you young and thinking of a family? Perhaps there’s just the two of you or you’re ready to downscale and minimise. Either way, think of what your lifestyle requires. And think of how many years you plan to stay in your home.
Resale tip: If you know that this home will not be your forever home, keep your business hat on and fully optimise your resale potential – from factoring in well-known hits like large kitchens and alfresco features right down to neutral colour palettes on walls and tiles.
Obviously, if you have a family – or already have one, you’ll require more bedrooms and more spaces for privacy. Think about building in spaces that can be easily shut away to block out chaotic mess (or noise) and areas that can be useful over the years, such as a separate wing or a granny flat to house teenage uni students an elderly parent.
Resale tip: Don’t be overly frugal with bedrooms. If you only have one or two, It may be sensible to include another, using it as a study or spare room so the house looks more complete at sale time. For example a three-bedroom home for sale is a far better proposition than a mere two-bedroom dwelling.
Bedroom locations will require some careful thought, although there are many good options. Some prefer to build with all bedrooms on the ground level, with all living, eating and entertaining areas upstairs. Make sure there’s easy access to bathrooms – or perhaps an ensuite. If you’ll be living on a busy street, keep the bedrooms to the rear of the home. Proximity to living room noise should also be considered.
If you work at home, make sure you have office space that is separate from the rest of the house and has a pleasant outlook (think: a decent window with a view and fresh air flow). If entertaining is your thing, you’ll probably find that mid-century designs suit you perfectly, with adequate indoor-outdoor flow and great alfresco areas.
A relatively new trend, many are now embracing pet-friendly designs. More than just building in a couple of cat flaps, pet-friendly homes can include a specific pet room/wet room. A pet room is ideally placed near the front or back door and is also a wet room, ideal for hosing down or bathing your animals before they run amok through your freshly carpeted home! And, when you think of all the belongings animal lovers collect, you’ll appreciate the storage this room can provide. Think massive economy bags of dog and cat food, kitty litter, medications, leads, grooming products, bedding, rugs, and plenty more. It may even be ideal for the dog to sleep here.
Other pet-friendly design ideas include enclosed areas for cats, skid-free floors, built-in nooks for sleeping, and secure garden areas, fences & gates.
Resale tip: Even if the next owner is sans pets, it’s likely they’ll appreciate a pet-friendly home. How many could go past secure fencing and garden areas, not to mention a wet room by the front door back door – ideal for a quick shower or storing sporting goods such as expensive bikes, surf and sailing equipment, or hobby items and gardening products?
If there is one thing we can learn from old, traditional heritage listed homes, it’s
the importance of storage! Bereft of built-in robes and pantries, many older style houses are often compromised by clunky wardrobes or just endless storage headaches. A fantastic benefit of building from scratch is that you can build as much storage as you can, so go for it. Where possible, design storage solutions from floor to ceiling, and make the most of every space – under stairwells, beds, even between wall spaces.
Bottom line: there aren’t many people complaining about too much storage!
Resale tip: Just do it! Storage is underestimated. Factoring in storage will instantly make your house an attractive option to buyers (especially female buyers)!