Planning and Design for New Home Construction

Planning and Design for New Home Construction

This is the part we’ve all been waiting for, right? Nothing is more exciting than taking all those ideas and must-haves and putting them into your new home. Here’s a quick primer on the planning and design process.

What type of home will you build?

Custom Home: A truly custom home is one that is designed from scratch to be built on a specific site and purchased by a specific buyer. Price doesn’t determine whether a home is “custom.” That adjective applies whenever the home has an original and unique design. Your custom home builder may have a relationship with a designer who will design your home, or you may hire an architect or designer independently. If you choose to find your own designer, it is a good idea to bring the builder and architect or designer together to make sure everyone is on the same page. Building a custom home “from scratch” is the most expensive option in home design.

Semi-Custom Home: A semi-custom home starts with an existing home design, which then is modified – sometimes substantially – to fit the site where the home will be built and the individual home buyer’s needs. Start by taking a look at the floorplans your builder has available, or research house plans on the internet. Collect designs that have the major items you are looking for and talk to your builder about how to customize them to suit your family. Using existing floorplans can mean significant savings over building a true custom home.

Production Home or Model Home: A model is built according to a standardized plan. Buyers don’t always have many opportunities to change or customize a production or tract home within a subdivision. However, many production home builders will have a list of predetermined options available for particular floor plans. Some prospective home buyers actually welcome more limited options. It streamlines both the planning and construction process, and knowing that your home design is tried-and-true can give peace of mind.

Spec Home: A home built “on speculation” by a buyer who hasn’t identified a specific builder but hopes to sell it during construction or shortly after it’s completed. If a buyer decides to purchase the home during construction, he or she probably will be able to request some degree of customization. A spec home can be a custom home, a semi-custom home or a production home.

The Process

For custom and semi-custom homes, there will be several steps to planning and designing your home. Here are some things you can expect as your journey to your new living space unfolds!

Step 1: Determine your needs and wants. Gather ideas, find house plans similar to what you want, and find pictures of features you’d like. Check out the Sheboygan County Home Builders Association Houzz profile for ideas and examples. Or better yet, take part in our Spring Tour of Homes or our Parade of Homes. File all your ideas together so that you can show your designer what you have in mind.

Step 2: Meet with your designer. This may be an architect, a designer your builder works with, or in the case of a semi-custom home, you may meet with your builder. Many builders have design capability in-house. Share your “needs list” and your “wish list” with your designer. This will give him or her an idea of what you have in mind and the scope of the project.

Step 3: The designer’s survey. Your designer or builder will need to go to your building site to literally get the “lay of the land”. They will look at things like soil composition, elevation, drainage, and utilities to evaluate the site.

Step 4: Concept design. The designer or architect will develop an overall concept of the home: how it will be situated on the lot and the floorplan. If you are working with a builder on a semi-custom home, he or she will start with an existing house plan and determine how to modify it for your family’s needs.

Step 5: Detailed planning and design. Once you approve the overall concept, the detailed planning takes place. The “big picture” concept design is refined and details are added that will allow the builder to execute the design plan. When complete, you can take your plans to your contractor or builder so they can begin their estimate for the project. NOTE: Professional designs are copyrighted material and cannot be copied or used without written permission from the designer. 

Step 6: Choosing materials. You and your builder or designer will sit down and select materials for your home. Flooring, tilework, countertops, carpeting, fixtures… all those little details you’ve been dreaming of! A good home building professional will show you options that fit within your budget and your lifestyle.

Ready to start?

See the Sheboygan County Home Builders Member Directory to find architects, designers, and home builders today!