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With so many different builders and floor plans out there, it is important to ask yourself a few simple questions before decision-time arrives. Below are tips from our design team which can help you work out the most important features you need to choose the perfect design.
Timeframe – it is important to consider how long you plan to live in the home. If your plan is short-term, you’ll learn very quickly what works well, what features you like, and what you want to change for your next home. If it is long-term, you will need to think about how your lifestyle may change over the coming years.
Single or double storey – if you already have land, you will need to consider what type of home is going to best suit it. With lot sizes generally decreasing, a double storey home is a great way to get extra space for your backyard, as well as in your home. However, single storey homes are more age-friendly and energy costs can be significantly cheaper. Think about what kind of home is going to best suit your current and future lifestyle.
Children – the age and number of children will determine many factors. In addition to the number of bedrooms, parents of young children might want a rumpus room for the kids to play in, while teenage children might require a quiet space away from living areas to study. A home that has zoned the kid’s area in a separate wing is a great way to close the doors, dull the noise and hide any mess.
Location of bedrooms – your bedroom is your sanctuary. You will need to consider whether you prefer it at the front of the home or the rear, and how close you want it located to the other bedrooms. You should always consider the proximity of bedrooms to the bathroom, laundry and living room noise as well.
Versatile design – a versatile home is one that will adapt as you need it to. A rumpus room can be turned into a study as kids get older. Second living spaces can be converted into bedrooms for elderly parents. Be mindful of how your chosen design can adapt with you.
Lifestyle – your lifestyle will influence what features you have in your home. If you are an avid movie fan, you might consider a home theatre. If you love entertaining, an alfresco or formal lounge could be ideal. If you run a business from home, a home office located near the entry would be perfect.
Kitchen – always consider the kitchen work triangle when looking at your design. The kitchen work triangle is made up of the distance between the most used items in the kitchen – your cooktop, sink and refrigerator. These three elements need to be close together for convenience, but not too close it becomes cramped. You will also need to decide where you will store everything. A good way to work out the best location for your pots, pans, plates and cutlery is to imagine serving dinner, unloading the dishwasher and baking a cake.
Block of land – your design must be suited to the block of land. If you have a narrow inner city allotment, your options are more restricted compared to a rural acreage block. In addition, if the land has a slope, you may need a split level design. Every land estate has different design requirements, so be sure to check your contract thoroughly.
Backyard – what you would like to achieve with a backyard will impact the size of the block of land you need and the size of the home. Keen gardeners, entertainers or people with pets may want a larger backyard than those who don’t spend much time outdoors.
Think about the furniture you currently own – many people like the look of a home, however when it comes to moving they realise there isn’t a place for their current furniture. Quite often new home buyers may find their couch that fit perfectly in their old home does not suit the configuration of their new one. If you have a piece of furniture you cannot let go of, make sure it fits!
Storage – builders and designers are very savvy when it comes to incorporating storage into your home. There is no wasted space with every nook and cranny being used wisely. If you need more space room though, consider extending the garage to allow extra room for storing bicycles or a boat. You also may want to add extra storage inside your home for toys, linen or coats.
Study/computer nook – if you don’t want a complete study but you still want somewhere to store your computer or charge your laptop, a study nook is a great compromise. It is an efficient use of space and provides the perfect place to store all of your electronic devices, without giving up an entire room.
Room usage – while a third living area or home theatre may look amazing on the plan, practical applications need to be considered. If you are not going to be using a particular room it is wasted space. Utilise it for some other means or omit it completely and extend other, more practical rooms.
Don’t lose sight of the goal – keep referring back to why you’re moving in the first place. If your reason for moving was to downsize, make sure you don’t get caught up in the design process and end up with a bigger home than you started with. Similarly, if it’s an investment, consider the versatility of the home to suit a wide audience.
For more on how to choose the perfect design, visit hotondo.com.au
Choosing the right design for you can be a difficult decision, even more so when you are doing it for the first time. As well as learning all the processes, dealing with banks, builders and land developers and even learning the right lingo, you also have to pick a home that you are likely to live in for many years to come.
We have listed the most important factors to consider when choosing a home design for the first time. We have also made a few suggestions on what we think are perfect home designs for first-time home buyers.
Look towards the future
Extra space should be a high priority for first home buyers. If you are planning to have children in the future, it may be wise to accommodate for them. Choosing a home with more bedrooms should be a higher priority than any other ‘additional’ features like a stone benchtop, freestanding bath or a double vanity in the ensuite. These can easily be added down the track, but extra space is more difficult to come by.
The Jamieson 222 is a versatile design with a kid’s zone that can be converted into a fourth bedroom and a separate living area at the front of the home that can become a study, theatre room or even another bedroom.
Buy the home you can afford now
Even if you expect your household income to increase in the coming years, never build a home beyond your current means. You never quite know what the future may hold, whether it be children, school, new cars or an accident, and pushing yourself to the absolute limit of your budget is never a good idea. You still want some money to live an enjoyable life, with plenty of time to build your dream home down the track.
The Aon range of homes can be built as a duplex, which can be a good way to bring in extra income. Live in one and rent out the other to increase your return and reduce the amount you have to pay on your mortgage.
Designs have personality
Find a design that is going to suit your personality and lifestyle. If you like the idea of an open-plan home, opt for a floor plan where the kitchen, living and dining areas run seamlessly into one another. If you are a bit of a movie buff, something with a closed home theatre room may be perfect for you.
The Alpha 237 offers an expansive alfresco area, great for those who love to entertain. With all the bedrooms secluded upstairs, a family can both entertain and relax simultaneously.
Study the floor plan
Some people may find themselves swayed by the beautiful interior design of a display home, and forget to be practical. Always picture yourself actually living in the home, and if you have any furniture, work out whether you are going to be able to bring it with you. Try running through your day-to-day activities and see how the flow of the home works with you.
The Leneva 185 has a seamless flow from the entry right through to the living room. The other bedrooms are all located in a separate wing, perfect for a little bit of privacy. The Leneva is a very popular home, making it one of our favourite home designs for first-time home buyers.
Choose something you LOVE!
At the end of the day, you have to love the home you choose. Building a house is a long-term commitment, and if you find there are things you don’t like about it now, you can bet they will only become an even bigger issue down the track. While you may need to make sacrifices, be sure overall you are happy with the design you choose.
What do you think of our perfect designs for first-time home buyers?