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Today’s average home is just under 2,700 square feet, which is a lot of space to fill and design. When working with your custom builder, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the decisions you have to make.

And knowing you’re on a time crunch with looming deadlines doesn’t help you either. When making decisions for your custom home, consider things you must add now and wait for another time.

Since that’s easier said than done, here are three tips to help you organize your thoughts, prioritize decisions, and simplify the design process.

Tip #1: What’s Your Budget?

No matter how large or small you want your home, a budget is necessary for keeping everything in check throughout the custom home building process. Without a budget, there’s no way to implement the other two factors on this list, and you can’t efficiently design your home.

Setting a budget is a great way to know what you can afford. This number controls your lot size, square footage, design choices, luxuries, etc.

So how can you set a budget?

When using a lender, they often give you a set range or maximum cost of the house they’ve approved.

If you’re in a position to finance your dream home, talk with your builder about what you want in a home. Since your budget is more fluid, you can decide what works best for you once you plan your home’s design and structure.

Tip #2: Make Lists to Organize Thoughts

A list is an ideal way to budget and figure out what decisions to make.

The best way to start your lists is to have a couple of categories, like “needs, wants, dreams, and don’t want.” These four categories create a natural hierarchy of information that helps you, your builder, and the interior designer know what works.

Another set of lists should focus on budgets for each room. Traditionally, the most expensive rooms in a home are the kitchen, bathrooms, basement, and living room. These top the list because they require the most furniture and appliances–many of which you won’t own before moving into your new home or upgrading some appliances.

When you take your budget for the entire build and start allocating money for specific rooms, you’ll have a better idea of what you can spend and how you should spend that money.

Tip #3: Which Rooms Are a Priority?

Prioritizing rooms is similar to the second list we previously mentioned, but this section is more personal.

Everyone has particular rooms they care about more than others in the house.

Although some rooms will always trump others–like kitchens and bathrooms–you might find a media room, den, office space, or in-law suite of higher importance.

Prioritizing your rooms, especially if they go against the grain of traditional homebuilding, helps you make essential decisions on what you can do later versus what must get done now.

For example, it’s much easier and less expensive to dress up a guest bathroom or convert a spare bedroom into a home gym after the build than adding a media room with a wall TV and surround sound speakers.

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You would prioritize the media room and save the home gym and guest bedroom for weekend projects once you move into your new home.

Should I Add It Now or Later?

The decision is yours, but designating a budget, making lists, and prioritizing rooms are strongly considered when making your styling choices for your dream house.

When you use these three factors to guide your decision-making process, you minimize your stress levels, which helps you make more precise and better judgments when building a custom home.

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