When you buy an existing home you pay a certain amount and you get a specific amount of square feet. You really can’t change what you get by paying more or offering less. Sure, you may pay a higher price for a home located in a particular area, but beyond that, it’s a pretty simple transaction.
Building a new home is a little bit different—particularly if you’re building a custom home. You have a bit more control over where your money is spent. You’re not necessarily locked into one particular plan (even though you may use an existing plan as a baseline for what you want). When you’re building your own home, you get to decide (at least to some degree) where your money goes.
So where should you spend your money when building a new home? Obviously, that depends on what’s important to you, but here are some general guidelines that will help you get the most bang for your homebuilding buck.
Before we get into specific areas, a basic rule of thumb is that you want to invest your money in the areas that will provide you with the most comfort and convenience—and best match your specific lifestyle.
Where you build makes a big difference. It’s not just your address that matters. You want to choose a location that lets you live the way you want to live. What’s important to you in a location? Do you want quiet and seclusion? Do you want great views? Do you want accessibility to shopping or other necessities? Are you more interested in a place that puts you near activities you enjoy? On top of that, you’ll want to consider the suitability of the lot you’re planning to build on. How is access to utilities? Will you need to do extra prep work (grading, etc.) before you can build?
These days the kitchen is arguably the most used room in the house. It needs to be a place where you can work (meal preparation and cooking), but it also needs to be able to accommodate your guests. Let’s face it: friends, relatives, and guests tend to congregate in the kitchen. It’s where the action is. You want your kitchen to look great, feel great, and function flawlessly.
Next to the kitchen, the family room probably sees the most use. It’s where you hang out as a family. It’s where you entertain friends, and it’s where guests end up when they can’t find a place around the island in the kitchen! For many of us it’s also the family entertainment center. It needs to be comfortable and functional.
Here’s a space that’s on the other end of the spectrum. Very few people use this room—but that’s part of what makes it so special. For a lot of homeowners, the master bath is a sanctuary of sorts. It’s where you can retreat to relax or to unwind from your day—or to get ready for the next day. It needs to be a comfortable place for any of those things.
You know how sometimes people say that size doesn’t matter? When it comes to the rooms in your house it really does matter. While you probably don’t need cavernous rooms in your home, having enough space to feel comfortable is essential. In all the years we’ve been building homes, nobody has ever complained that the size of the kitchen, family room, bedroom, bathroom, or dining room was too big. Does it cost more to build bigger rooms? Of course! But it’s a lot cheaper to spend that money up front than it is to come back in later and try to add space.
While we're on the subject of space, it’s important to mention an area that’s easy to overlook when designing your home: storage space. Homeowners moving into a new home often think that they’ll never fill up all the closet space and other storage space in their new home. That usually lasts about two years. We humans simply collect stuff. And once again, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to build in more storage space at the beginning than it is to try to add it later.
Those are some of the places where it really makes sense to spend your money on a new home. We invite you to check out the many great floor plans we build in the Poconos and other Pennsylvania locations. But bear in mind that these plans can be modified to meet your specific needs. And it’s a lot more cost-effective to make changes up front than to try to add them in later!