Questions to ask before buying a small house floor plan

This is just a basic list of questions to first ask, then answer, when considering a new home. (Cozy or not) 

Think about needs versus wants when answering.

  1. What is your preferred square footage amount? Be sure to anticipate future needs as best as possible.
  2. What is your construction budget? Fast or slow? Cash or financed?
  3. Do I want land or a lot?

 

Land Questions:

  1. How far am I willing to go away from a town if I want land?
  2. Will the property come with a plat or survey?
  3. Do I have easements or any other type of zoning restrictions?
  4. Does it have utilities included, or do I need to provide them?
  5. Electricity needs? Fees, underground wire, or will I have to pay for the poles necessary to reach my new home?
  6. What about Water? Municipal or well; will I need a Road-Bore and how much per linear foot to install?
  7. What is the fence like? Do I need one?
  8. Do I need an entry gate? Automated means electricity, manual means opening and closing all the time, even in bad weather.
  9. Is natural gas or propane available to me?
  10. Will I have a sewer or will I need an aerator septic system? These systems are running between $5,000- $7,000 in most places and will require a permit.
  11. What are my phone, cable or Internet options?
  12. What are the worst features of this land, and what will it cost me to correct them?
  13. Will I need any cross-over culverts for proper drainage?
  14.  How long will my driveway be? Trust me…  a semi load of road base or gravel at several inches thick will not go very far. Plus, you may want to consider some type of underlayment to help with weeds and erosion control.
  15.  Taxes?

 

Questions on Lots:

  1. What is the sewer tap, water, electricity or any other type of fees?
  2. Do I have covenants, fees, easements, taxes or any other type of building restrictions?

 

Home Questions:

  1. Do you have a contractor in mind?
  2. Will you be getting bids on this project?
  3. How much of the construction are you willing to do personally?
  4. Do you have the skills, friends, time and tools necessary to do certain types of projects?
  5. Is your contractor even willing to let you participate with the liability that they will have to incur?
  6. When are you planning to start construction and what is the timeframe before completion?

 

Exterior Home Details:

  1. What is my favorite style of home? Ranch, Mediterranean, Victorian, Log, South Western, Farmhouse, Modern, etc…
  2. What kind of materials will make up the bulk of your home’s exterior? Will it be brick, stone, stucco, sided or a combination of materials?
  3. What type of windows do I want? There is a myriad of choices and grades to pick from, and this is one area that you might not want to skimp on.
  4. Do I want any specialty windows like garden, picture, egress, bay, etc…
  5. What style of roof and pitch do I want? Gable, hip, salt box, gambrel, mansard, etc. What will it be covered by? Metal, shingles, spanish tile, shake, grass, etc.
  6. How many stories will it be?

  

Interior Home Details:

  1. Do I need or want a foyer?
  2. What size living area do I need, and what will its primary function be?
  3. How big of a kitchen do I need?  Do I prefer any type of configuration U, L, galley etc..? What additional appliances must I have? Double wall oven, trash compactor, additional, etc.
  4. How important is a specific dining area and how many does it need to seat regularly?
  5. How many bedrooms do I need and how much closet space do they require? I know…a bunch!
  6. Will I need to have a master bath, main bath or both? What size tub or shower?
  7. Does the utility room need anything other than a gas or electric washer and dryer? Soak sink, ironing board, freezer etc.

 

Miscellaneous Home Details:

  1. Do I need a 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 car garage?
  2. Can I have a basement where I plan to build?
  3. Will there be any handicap considerations?
  4. What type of flooring material for the main and secondary areas? Carpet, tile, hardwood, etc.
  5. What kind of window treatments do I need?
  6. What type of wall texture do I want?
  7. Do I want to have a built-in entertainment center, bookshelf’s, niches, etc?
  8. Are there any custom faux finishing, wainscot, chair rail options?
  9. Do I have any piece of furniture that needs to have special considerations?
  10. How about a fireplace or wood stove? Stove options are gas, pellet, wood-burning or vent less.
  11. What material would you like to finish the fireplace with?
  12. What height would you like the ceilings in your home to be? Any special vault, trey or beams to consider?
  13. What kind of lighting and where would you like to have it? Accent, artwork spotlights, under and over kitchen cabinet etc.

 

Don’t forget any of these things:

  1. Porches, decks, patios, hot tub?
  2. Out-buildings and storage for the lawn and garden stuff, tools and workshop.
  3. Don’t forget the toys! Boats, ATV’s, bikes or sand rail dune buggy.
  4. And most importantly, don’t forget the furry, four-legged friends.

 

This questionnaire doesn’t cover every fine detail of planning to build a new home, but I hope it gives you a good foundation for planning this complicated process.

With plenty of foresight and careful planning, the stress of building your new Dream Home can be greatly reduced; don’t let the idea of building your own small house scare you.  It is worth it!

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