Turning Houses Into Homes: A Home and Garden Blog

5 Must-Haves For Your New Home That You Don't Even Know You Want Yet

When building a new home, decisions come at you one after another. From floor plans and lot selection to flooring and cabinet finishes, the sheer amount of decisions that you need to make when building from scratch can overwhelm an indecisive person. The more decisions you can make up front, however, the less expensive it is. Change orders and late additions can cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars later in the process. Knowing what you need as well as what you want before you meet with a builder is inherently helpful.

1. Central Vac: The 1970s saw rise to the invention of the central vacuum system, a series of PVC pipes running through the walls to a central collection point, usually in the garage or basement. While older systems had their flaws -- loud, clunky, expensive -- newer versions are greatly improved. The most exciting change, however, comes in the innovative way it can handle crumbs in the kitchen. A foot-activated, inlet valve can be installed under your kitchen cabinets, in the toe-kick area, and you simply sweep crumbs up to it. Once activated, they are magically sucked up. Boom! No more dealing with dustpans.   

2. Interior Insulation: Traditional bat insulation -- the ubiquitous pink, rolled insulation -- is typically used in attics to insulate homes from exterior temperatures. It can, however, also be used in interior walls to inexpensively muffle sound. While not a professional-level soundproofing product, it does a great job of blocking sound from televisions, running water, and snoring. Think of it as a building hack that can make your house quieter for very little money.

3. Pre-Plumbed Bath: It is easier -- read: less expensive -- to pre-plumb your basement or bonus room for an extra bath now, in the planning and framing stage, than it is later. Even if you aren't sure if you will ever need that extra bathroom, pre-plumbing for it can save you or the next owners a considerable sum. How much money can you save? Pre-plumbing will add a few hundred while waiting until after construction is complete will cost several thousand, just for the rough plumbing.

4. Laundry Room Location: While the laundry room itself is always a must-have, where it is located in the home has fluctuated over the years. From basement to the main floor to the second floor and back again, you can probably guess what year a house was built just by the location of the laundry room. When building your own house, you can choose where you want it based on how you do laundry. Each location has its pros and cons, depending on the needs to you and your family.

5. Custom Drop Zone: One of the newest trends in home design is the addition of a drop zone with custom cabinetry. Think of it as an upgraded mudroom for the new millennium. When entering a home, we have a tendency to just drop everything, from boots and coats to purses and briefcases, on the floor.  A drop zone typically has built-in cabinetry, custom wood lockers with hooks and drawers, and a counter area for keys and mail. Another great idea to incorporate into this space is a custom, built-in charging station complete with outlets that contain USB ports.

Building a new house can be a fun, bucket-list item, especially when you incorporate items that will make your life easier in the long run.