Practical Custom Home Features

If you were looking to build a new house, would you know what you’re looking for? What features would you include? There are so many options, it may feel impossible to even start. Considering all of the building materials, landscaping options, floor plans, tile selections, cabinetry, and so on, it’s easy to get lost. I’d like to share some of the interesting things that I’ve seen our buyers include in their new houses.

To start, custom home building is just that: custom. A buyer, if willing, could select everything down to the very last detail. With the majority of our houses, our buyers fit within a particular bracket, looking to personalize their house, but not start from scratch. They’ll select the colors of their roof, paint, stone veneer, pavers, soffit, and gutters. They choose their own door hardware, lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and backsplash. They may want to add specialty features like a fireplace, custom shelving, a central vacuum, or media system. However, I can provide some further insight as to what practical features I’d choose to include if I were building my own house.

The very first feature I would include is impact glass. For example, on a standard 2200 square foot house that we build, the cost of the window and sliding glass door package may be around $12,000 for non-impact glass. Upgrading to impact will cost an additional $8,000 or so, bringing the total to around $20,000. Now, considering that a hurricane panel package on the same house costs around $3,000, the difference is $5,000. Worthwhile, in my opinion, for the coastal areas in which we build houses. From Cape Canaveral down to Melbourne Beach, and Melbourne to Titusville, Brevard County is subject to higher basic wind speeds than land more centrally located. With more frequent hurricanes expected in our future, being protected year-round relieves a lot of the stress from hurricane season.

On a similar note, I would include a standby generator. Many of our buyers, particularly in Laguna Village, opt to place a propane generator outside on their AC pad. As the houses are already piped for gas, it’s simple enough to purchase and install a whole house generator. In Melbourne, and many other areas around Brevard, we have a lot of overhead power. If a storm were to take down a few poles, the buried gas lines would remain intact and could supply power through the generator. Although, generators are not cheap. Depending on its capabilities, they can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for the equipment and install.

Moving away from storm protection, my next suggestion is to select spray foam insulation. We include batt insulation and blown-in fiberglass as our standard option on every house, but if you’re willing to spend some more money, I recommend spray foam. Furthermore, there are two spray foam options, either closed or open cell, referring to their density at a microscopic level. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, but generally speaking, open cell spray foam serves as a great middle ground between the more expensive closed cell foam and the basic blown-in fiberglass. Any spray foam is going to create a much tighter seal envelope for your house, keeping the heat out and saving you money on your electric bill.

Let’s move on to the garage. As opposed to an apartment or condo, one of the main appeals of purchasing a house is having your own garage. A garage offers a great space to store your things, keep your cars, and even enjoy your hobbies. For those inclined to set up a workshop in their garage, whether it’s used for woodworking or car maintenance, a durable garage floor coating is a worthwhile feature. There are a plethora of companies that offer various garage floor products, but we specifically like a combination of polyurea and polyaspartic coatings. The final floor is incredibly durable, resistant to peeling, chipping, and staining. You’re able to customize the colors you’d like to include, blending the floor in with the house, or creating a unique theme for the garage. The price tag is significant, upwards of $3,000 for a three car garage, but most of these companies will warranty the floor for ten to fifteen years.

If you’ll be spending a lot of time in your garage, consider cooling it with a ductless mini-split air conditioner. The evaporator can mount up high on the interior of the garage, and runs a small hole through the exterior wall, connecting to the condenser on the outside of the house. These systems can make a hot garage cold on a summer day, and the next household project might just be enjoyable in your workshop. If you don’t plan on partaking in any garage hobbies, consider air conditioning your garage to better preserve whatever you may be keeping in storage. The Florida heat and humidity is harsh on most things.

So, those are five practical features that I would include on my next custom house. You could opt to pursue the generator, garage floor coating, and mini-split on your own time in the future. However, the impact windows and spray foam insulation will save you many headaches if included in your contract with your custom home builder. Doing so during the construction process will end up saving you money, so why waste it?  Click here to Contact Us!

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