How Much House Do I Need? (Part 2)

How Much House Do I Need? (Part 2) — Willow Tree Custom Homes

In Part 1 of this article, we talked about some of the big questions that need to be asked before designing or building a custom home — questions like how big your lot is, how many people are going to be living in this home, and how long you plan to be in the house. 

Here in Part 2, we’ll look at some of the equally important, but more nuanced questions surrounding building a new home. Of course, the homebuilding professionals at WillowTree will tackle these questions and many more as you embark upon the homebuilding process. 

4. How old are you? 

No, this isn’t about ageism, but age and stage of life is important when building that dream home. For example, when you get a loan for 30 years, it’s important to think about what you’re financial situation will look like in three decades. Are you on the upward swing of your career, poised to make income increases over the coming couple of decades? Or are you ramping down your career, headed for retirement and a lower fixed income? 

These considerations are important, as you don’t want to saddle yourself with a terrible financial burden in some of your most vulnerable years. If you’re building your “forever home,” part of that is ensuring that you’ll be able to pay for it “forever.”

Also, it’s important to think about long-term architectural things like stairs and environmental things like a big yard or garden to maintain — features that could be enticing early on, but actually painful in those golden years. 

5. Are you looking for utility, comfort or luxury in your use of space? 

Assuming you have the land to accommodate whatever floor plan you could dream up, the question becomes: What kind of feeling do you want in the house? Do you want to build just to suit the general needs of the people living in it? Do you want everyone a little tight for maximum family togetherness, sharing one bathroom and congregating in the yard?

Are you looking for everyone to have their own comfortable space, a private bathroom and room to recreate? Or are you looking to go all-in on features, fixtures and a floor plan that allows ample space for bedrooms, bathrooms, community spaces and maybe even a gym? 

As NewHomeSource says:

Some custom-home buyers want what they want and are willing to pay for enough space to accommodate their desires, while others reconfigure their needs to fit the size of home they can afford within their budget, says Ryan Thewes, a residential architect in Nashville, Tenn.

“Typically, buyers say, ‘We would like a 3,000-square-foot house. We have to have a gym. We have to have a crafts room.’ All of a sudden their house is 4,500 square feet,” Thewes says. “We can quickly do the math and say, ‘Is that theater room really worth X amount?’ A lot of the time, the answer is no.”

But sometimes, the answer is yes. What’s your budget? Price per square foot has everything to do with what you put into your home, but it all starts with where you’re building. The average price per square foot, nationwide, is $123.

6. What do you hope to do in this home? 

Are you a big-time entertainer? Do you enjoy hosting parties, holidays and special events? Are you the place where you want all the kids and their friends to hang out? 

Or are you someone who values having your own personal haven, a space dedicated to giving you needed alone time in a room where you can kick back and stretch out? Or maybe you’re kind of both types of people? 

Your floor plan is going to need to reflect your personal ethos. Bigger common areas would likely translate into smaller (or even fewer) bedrooms. Larger bedrooms (and adjoining bathrooms) would probably limit the size of common areas. Maybe you also want to host an ever-rotating number of guests in your home (friends, family, or even AirBnb guests) — that might require an extra bedroom or two. 

Plus, think about your outdoor goals. You could build with the intent to create an outdoor hosting spot, full of patio furniture, great landscaping and yard games. That could free up your interior for larger personal rooms, or it could make your overall house footprint smaller (depending on your lot size). 

How you want to use your home will certainly determine its configuration and allocation of precious square footage.

7. What do you want? 

You don’t have to be an expert on anything related to home-building to see your dreams come true. Talk to WillowTree today to start taking your housing wants and needs from your brain and heart into reality. We’re here to help navigate all these questions and more.