When you buy a home that's already been constructed, what you see is pretty much what you get. You can't just wave a wand and magically rearrange the outlets or create new storage space.
However, when you build a home for yourself, the floor plan is your oyster. You can incorporate as many useful features into the structure of the house as you want without worrying about costly installation fees.
Regardless of whether these installations are simply a few outlets on the mantle to help with Christmas decorating, or elaborately installed heated floors in the master bathroom, they'll all make your home more comfortable and more valuable. So, if you plan on building a house this year, take a minute to consider incorporating these five helpful features into plans before you start construction.
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Hidden Storage Space
It's never a bad idea to maximize the storage space in your new home. A good way to do this is to incorporate hidden cabinets and drawers in areas that would otherwise go unused, like underneath the countertop of your island, in your stair risers or inside the pony wall in your master bathroom. These hidden cubbies can hold everything from wine bottles to cell phones to your collection of Hemingway novels and will go a long way towards containing the clutter in the house.
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You can never have enough electrical outlets in a home. Installing plugs in your closets will let you charge your cordless vacuums while they're in storage. Outlets on the stairway and on top of mantles will make decorating for Christmas much easier. And if you've got an amateur mechanic in the family, you should consider running 220-volt outlets to the garage to power welders, air compressors and other tools. These large outlets will also come in handy if you ever purchase a hybrid because they're also used to charge the car's batteries.
A Pest Line
If you live in an area where termites and spiders are a problem, you should definitely investigate putting a pest line into your home. This is a perforated tube that runs throughout the walls of the house and terminates at an outlet outside. It allows an exterminator to simply plug in his or her spraying device and treat the entire house at once. Not only is this more effective than traditional methods of pest control, it's also safer because it doesn't expose your family and pets to harmful chemicals.
A Pet Bath Station
Fido might be the most beloved member of the family, but that doesn't make him any less of a terror to bathe. If you've ever found yourself hunched over the tub, trying to wash off a hyperactive Labrador then you know what we mean. As a result, we recommend installing a washbasin for your pets in your laundry or mud room. Put in a high-walled basin large enough to comfortably seat your pets with some steps leading up to it so that they can climb in and out. If you're feeling productive, you might even want to consider setting up an entire pet station in the room with space allotted for food bowls and crates.
Installing heated floors is surprisingly affordable when you don't have to tear up tile and hardwood to do it. For $453, you can pick up a 25' x 18' heating mat from home depot that can make the floors of your bathroom or bedroom a joy to step on even after the coldest of nights. This isn't just a luxury, either. Heated floors will also increase your property value when it comes time to sell.
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The Bottom Line
You might not be able to afford everything you want when building a home, but you can afford a lot of it as long as you remember to do most of your installations while the construction is still in progress. For a little work, these clever must-have features will make your new house less cluttered, more comfortable and much more attractive to buyers if ever you decide to sell.