Figuring out needs vs. wants for your family can be quite challenging.  This is especially true when building a custom home.  Each person usually comes to a build with a slight variation in the total outcome.  So, how do you parse out what the most important wants and needs are for your new house?

When sitting down to plan your new home, working within a budget is key.  However, you may not be able to finalize total costs until you make some very hard decisions.  These choices are even more difficult when people are on opposite sides of the spectrum.

One person may dream of a formal living and dining room, where-as the other person wants an open-concept kitchen, dining and living room.  How do these two people meet in the middle?

Needs vs. Wants

Needs vs. Wants, Formal dining room, separated from the living room and kitchen.

Needs vs. Wants

Needs vs. Wants, Open-concept kitchen, dining and living room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are other considerations that will make these decisions complex, like knowing what you are willing to sacrifice or you are willing to pay for.  This is a time to be realistic.  However, if this is your forever house, maybe you are willing to pay a little extra for that workout room.

These types of issues are not unusual when building a custom home.  Making discussions essential and normal, in order to find common ground.  Conversations should be made early and often, so that a resolution can be made, prior, to the majority of design work being completed.

But, how do you culminate one person’s needs vs. wants with the another?  By using The Design Outline™.

The Design Outline™ is a tool that helps each person define their needs and wants for the home building process.  This exercise takes less than 30 minutes to complete but can save countless hours and thousands of dollars.

How the Outline works is this:

  • Each individual involved in the home building process, has a blank paper. Use this to write down all the dreams, wants and needs for the home, in no particular order.
  • Then rank your items, in order of importance, starting with 1, 2, 3, etc. You do not need to agonize over whether one feature goes before the other, as sometimes your wants and needs can be equally important.  However, do prioritize #3 on your list over #25, know what you want.
  • Once each of you has ranked your items, meet, share, compare and combine into The Design Outline™.  This will become your master list, incorporating each of your ranked needs vs. wants, in order.

Now that your needs vs. wants have been combined, it is really time to dig into the design and budgetary process.  You and your builder can review the budget, along with your master list.  Anything that was already included in the budget can be crossed off.  Any additional items that were initially excluded from the budget, can then be provided at an estimated cost.  This allows you to make an informed decision on whether or not you’ll need to increase the original budget.