What is your dream home? Do you have an idea of what it will look like? Defining a dream home is very difficult, especially if you have a spouse or significant other that has tastes different than your own. Although you might be able to agree on a floor plan, do you both agree on what the purposes for each of the rooms? My solution to this matter is simple. Brain storm together. Make it fun! After all it's your dream that you are talking about. Privately each of you collect floor plan ideas from other sources, and prioritize what you like. List the top 10 bedroom floor plans, bathroom floor plans, kitchen floor plans and of course the floor plan layout styles.
You can do this by researching these topics: Log Home Floor Plans, Model Home Floor Plans (which, by the way, utilize small spaces very efficiently), Kitchen Floor Plans, Apartment Floor Plans (another very good space effective plan), and various architectural floor plans. Collect your "top ten" sources from each of these plans and then select your top ten out of those. You will have a very comprehensible top ten list to discuss with your spouse or significant other. Keep in mind that you can make any room the size you desire from these plans, but it's the concept and ideas of the plans that you should be collecting.
You both then get together with your top ten lists and discuss why you really like the plans you choose. Make it fun! Make it a party if you want with friends and family, but you need to remember to be open minded and "listen" to the each other since you both have your own pro's and con's with each of the plans. Surprising enough, eventually you will agree on a top ten between you. In fact you probably will have extremely similar plans picked out! I did this with my wife and found that in a few hours we agreed completely on our dream home! This was the hardest part! (This method also works in determining baby names and other life critical significant other issues.)
Factors to Consider:
Probably the hardest factor to consider is financing availability and budget. You need to review your own current budget and evaluate how the new budget will affect your current life style. If you check your credit report and it is not what was anticipated, you might have to adjust your budget or take the necessary steps to clean it up. Since I am not a financial specialist, I would ask you to consult with the credit personnel at your local bank. Once your credit is cleaned up as much as possible, apply for a loan. Apply for the maximum amount you can get. Find out what the monthly payments would be and see if that works in your budget. Make sure your monthly payments do not affect your ability to landscape and buy some interior design items and new furniture. A common mistake most people make is that they put everything in their home but leave out the funds and budget for interior design and landscaping. Always have available financing reserved for future emergencies. Do not put everything in your home and become house poor.
Location of your new dream home is also a factor. Does the neighborhood have houses similar to your style? Is there a variety of home styles? Do research on what type of neighborhood it is. Are there neighborhood, city or county ordinances that might affect your lifestyle? Make a list of all the pro's and con's of each of your choices of sites, narrow it down to your top 3 to 5 and seriously think about all the factors that might influence your decision. You don't always want the perfect size or shaped lot if there are ordinances that will effect how you use it. Be careful.
Make sure you have no surprises. Ask your real estate agent for a list of permits necessary to build your dream home on the lot you chose. If they will not provide this, then go to your city and county and get the list. Make sure your construction contactor provides all of these permits in their contract with you.