Sunday, March 17, 2013

Think Ahead and Get it Right!

To have the new home of your deams, ANY and ALL specifications should be in your purchase contract. Nail Down Hardwood Floors - The reason this makes the list is the fact that if your new home is a 2-story your entire staircase will be affected. If a rug or tile is in front of the bottom step than adding a nailed down wood floor after your home is built will mean your bottom step will be about 1.5" shorter then all the rest of your steps. Builders always determine step height by the floor material that is in front of the staircase. IF you plan on adding wood floors after you close then you will want the builder to make sure they add wood floors in the hallway where your staircase is located. This way you will avoid the "short step" problem later on when you complete your Hardwood Floors. Single Garage Door Width - Don't let your builder put in 8' doors!!!! You need 9' or you will have to fold your vehicle mirrors getting in and out! 8' doors might work if you own a VW Bug or a Fiat, but not with SUV's or Pickups, which just happen to be the vehicle of choice for many Homeowners. This needs to be known before the slab forms are put in place. Garage Door Height - Want to park a boat or F250 that is lifted? Make sure you design in an extra high garage door. Its easy enough to do if the builder knows about it before Framing begins or better yet BEFORE you sign your contract. Garage Length and Width - Well if you are going through the trouble of adding a taller door then you want to make sure you are at least 22' long if you are to park your F-250 or similar sized vehicle. Sink in Utility Room - Make it as deep as possible. Plan before foundation is poured so plumbing and drains can be set. Adding a Bathroom - Sometimes some floorplans just don't work because they lack a needed bathroom. This addition needs to be known before the cement is poured. An added bath in a Formal area or Study area can be very important if you have a home based business or ever expect to convert this space to a bedroom. Salad Sink in Kitchen Island - Having a 2nd sink in the Island helps during food prep and clean up. Don't forget a 2nd sink disposal. Refrigerator or Freezer Power Plug in Utility Room or Garage - This must be added during the Frame Stage. This is important because this line needs to be on its own dedicated circuit to prevent breaker trips of other outlets. Recessed "Can" Lighting - Especially on 2-story homes, you really need to look at this closely as many homes have insufficient lighting. It is very expensive and difficult to install additional 1st floor can lighting into homes that have a 2nd story above without making a lot of holes in sheet rock. This needs to be added no later than Frame Stage. Sconce Wall Lighting - In Media Room or elsewhere, must be completed during Frame Stage. Sconce Staircase Lighting - Add at Frame Stage. Exterior MOTION Lights - Got a place around the house where you want a MOTION light? Now is the time to put that in. The builder will credit you the fixture you don't install and price out the motion light fixture. Flat Panel Screens - Cable and power drops in Bedrooms, Master Baths, Garage or any other "Special" location that will allow you to mount a Flat Screen without having unsightly power and cables running up your walls. Add at Frame Stage. Also consider if you want an outdoor monitor as plugs and video cables can be installed cheaply when building versus retrofitting. Video - Power Drops for Media Room Front Projector complete during Frame Stage. Christmas Light Outlets - Installed under roofline in the Soffits. These convenience plugs are added at Frame Stage. For added convenience add an indoor on/off switch and MAKE SURE this outlet is on its own individual circuit breaker in your main breaker panel. Outdoor Spotlights - Tree Lights or exterior house lighting. Frame Stage. Choose low voltage lights to help save on electric cost. Built-Ins - These may include Kitchen Cabinet Garbage pull outs, Wine Lattice wind rack, Pasta Bins, Butler Pantry Cabinets, kitchen "bread box," Book Cases, and entertainment built-ins. Must be known a few weeks before cabinets will be installed. Butler's Pantry would have to be designed in at early planning stage. Shower Head in Master that is HIGH ENOUGH!!! - You'll be glad you added this one at the Frame Stage during Plumbing installation. Extended Patio - This needs to be planned before the slab is poured especially if you want the Patio extension to be part of the foundation structure. You can always add afterwards, but be prepared to tear up sprinkler lines and sod. Seems to me it would be cheaper to include day one! Outdoor Gas Line to Grille - Add at Frame Stage. Extended Driveway - Handy for added parking opportunities, this must be decided before foundation is poured. It is cheaper for builder to add this from the Cement Truck then to mix up individual bags afterwards PLUS all the Cement matches. Extra Power Drops in Garage - These may include a speaker drop, video drop or extra outlets in construction benches. The Garage is a UTILITY ROOM so give it MORE UTILITY! Like to spend time in the Garage? Maybe these features will help! Add at Frame Stage. Attic Storage - Locate a logical space in your attic for storage. At Frame Stage. To do one better identify an area under roof that can be included into the interior space. If you insulate this space it will help keep storage items within a more tolerable temperature range WITHOUT adding AC and Heating ducts. Better home builders include this in their plans. Georgia is not the kind of place to store valuable items in an attic that is not temperature controlled. Just a few upgrades many Home Buyers tend to overlook.