What Matters Most (and Least) When Building a Home

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When building a home, there are things that matter – and things that matter not so much.  In this article, we rate the selections at the top and bottom of the list.

Top 5 Most Important Selections in Home Building

1. Tile

Tile is installed with a cement backer and further made permanent by grout. So it isn’t meant to be removed, or at least not regularly. So, in order to be sure you’ll love it for a long time, it is a good idea to select a neutral color palette. That way, as colors change, and you won’t be stuck with an outdated color. Another tip is to select decorative tile in a pattern, like a mosaic for instance, that could later be replaced if desired.

2. Exterior Cladding

Spend a little extra money here to get that “custom” look.  Curb appeal is one of the most important considerations for resale. The exterior cladding can be stone, stucco, wood, metal, or other, but each choice must make sense with the overall goals of the project.

3. HVAC (Heating & Air-Conditioning System)

Make sure it’s calculated correctly. Paying more doesn’t ensure efficiency, but a less efficient unit will cost you in electric bills.  Plus, if you’re in an extreme climate, you may be hot or cold if the calculations weren’t done properly. The most important question to answer here in Texas is, “what temperature do you like to keep the thermostat on in the Summer?” This will guide the calculation of your HVAC system.

4. Insulation

The higher the R-value, the better.  Run the math to ensure you’re getting the payback in electric bills – the best value is the attic insulation.  That’s where you can really save!

5. Kitchen Surfaces and Overall Look

Nothing helps a home’s resale value more than a well-appointed kitchen. Make sure the materials and surfaces flow and feel clean and current. An outdated kitchen is one of the most often-cited reasons for not buying a home.


Top 4 Least Important Selections in Building

1. Windows

Whle it is very important to select a good quality brand of window and the right window for aesthetic purposes, there is not much difference in energy savings–at least not in the Central Texas climate. That’s why most of our clients ask us to assist them with the window selection. The design of the windows is far more important than the selection of the window.

2. Toilets

Need I say more? While we may have our favorite brand, most of us are happy that the toilet just does its job. There are exceptions, of course, as some high-end toilets are becoming high-tech and quite impressive.

3. Plumbing fixtures

Most of the medium-priced plumbing fixtures are all built the same on the inside.  Some of the European models are poorly-designed for American bathrooms, even though they are more expensive.  This is a situation where the warranty and the company standing behind the warranty trumps the actual fixture choice. 

4. Trim

Some of the most beautiful trim is simple studs with a small molding to finish it off.  Fancy baseboards and door trim are rarely used anymore.  It is much more relevant to specify the correct size and scale for the rooms than it is for it to be highly embellished. Sometimes “more” is not more.

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