Building a brand new home means you’ll face a lot of decisions, large and small. From choosing floor plans and exterior elevations, to countertops and cabinetry, it can all become a bit overwhelming. And about the time your eyes start to cross while trying to decide whether the grout color called “cement”, or the one called “concrete”, matches your tile best, you may start to question whether or not you’ve missed something big.
Even if you feel certain you’ve accounted for everything, it doesn’t hurt to go back and check a few key things before the slab is poured:
- Where’s the A/C?
You and the builder’s rep may have quickly agreed that you’d prefer the A/C compressor to be on the side of the house, not right beneath your bedroom window. But a lot can happen as a home plan gets submitted to the county for permitting. The builder may learn that the lot isn’t large enough to accommodate the A/C on the side of the house. Or the person submitting the plan sends it in just the way they typically build it, with the A/C below the bedroom window. And once the plans are approved and permitted, it can be difficult, and costly, to make a change. In short, make sure everyone is clear on the location of your A/C.
- Regression Testing
In software/web development, this is the process of making sure your program or website still functions properly after making some modifications. This is also important in home design. Let’s say your standard floor plan calls for sliders that open onto a lanai with a ceiling fan overhead. You swap out the sliders for 8-foot French doors that swing out to the lanai. Easy enough. But will the ceiling fan clear the doors as they’re opened? These are the types of unintended consequences of a design change that can be easy to overlook.
- Lighting and Electrical
Before you start thinking about light fixtures, it helps to consider placement of switches and outlets. An architect may have put a switch for a particular light on a certain wall because it makes sense from a construction perspective. But if you take a few moments to think about how you’ll actually move about the home, you may decide you want to move a switch or two from one side of a room to the other. The key is to really try to envision yourself in the space.
A Few Other Things to Remember When Building in Florida
Gutters Do Not Come Standard
Yes, Florida receives more than 50 inches of rain a year, on average. But, no, gutters are typically not standard on your home (not here in northeast Florida, anyway). Odd? Yes. Just be prepared. Fortunately, there are plenty of companies that can put gutters on your home quickly after you close, and often for less money than the builder might charge.
My Landscaping Will be Similar to My Neighbor’s, Right?
Not necessarily. Builders will typically plant whatever is “in season” at the home is being built. Those blooming bushes and flowering trees planted at your neighbor’s house in March may be very different from the hearty winter ground cover and evergreen trees that get dropped into your yard in January. And location? Try to be as specific as possible with your builder about where you’d like your trees to go. That said, don’t be disappointed if they don’t get planted exactly there. “In the vicinity” is often the best you can hope for…
Builders, like all companies, are doing their best to try and keep customers satisfied. But when a company is building hundreds of homes in an area at once, with multiple different floor plans, it’s no surprise that some details can fall through the cracks. To avoid disappointment down the road, make sure you, and your Realtor, really sweat the details upfront—ideally before plans go to permitting. You may not catch everything, but you can feel confident that you’ve addressed the issues that would be hardest change once your home is complete.
Have questions about building a new home in Florida? Our Buyer Specialist, Susan Pollan, spent more than 10 years working with various builders in northeast Florida. Contact her for answers to any of your questions about new construction.