Tips for Customizing a New Home

Model Home at Orchard Glen in Mechanicsburg Pa

There are two kinds of home-buyers out there: the kind that values a unique, often older and quirky house, and the kind that wants a brand-new home with minimal improvements or surprises hiding behind the walls.

But you can have a brand new, beautiful home from a builder — and make it reflect your unique personality, too.
Here are some ways you can customize your new home to make it feel like a more expensive custom house — even if its architecture isn’t completely original in the neighborhood.

1. When building, consider buying a second lot next door.

Especially in high-volume, production-line neighborhoods where houses tend to be squished in next to each other, you will appreciate the extra yard space for years to come. Plus, it will break up the rhythm in the neighborhood when it comes to your house. Plant trees or a garden on this space, if permitted.

2. Consider paint colors, inside and out.

Paint is the quickest way to make a big impact, and that goes for originality, too. Chances are, if you’re in a newer neighborhood, the exterior of your house will be limited by the homeowner’s association bylaws. But if you’re building from the ground-up and you have a selection of pre-determined paints from which to choose, look around. Pick the less popular color, or one that plays off the neighbor’s colors. If they have green accents, pick maroon.

Then select outdoor furniture, like porch chairs, that make that color pop.
As for the interior of your house, it can be as unique as you wish with your color selection. Be bold, at least on accent walls. Consider metallic copper paint, faux finishing or horizontal stripes in an otherwise plain hallway.

Related: 5 Ways to Update Your Patio

3. Shy away from stock lighting.

Instead of going with the small selection of pre-chosen light fixtures, hire an independent electrician (even if it has to be after the build) and replace all fixtures with something different. Ditch the family room fan and hang an antique chandelier. Add ceiling lights, accents and cans where other homes lack them. Lighting is another way to make a huge impact, and often homeowners forget than an electrician can put lights anywhere. You are not limited to the existing wiring.

4. Make your yard bloom.

Plant bright, beautiful flowers in your garden or in flower boxes on your front porch. Draw the eyes away from the expected, and accent different dimensions of the architecture. Line your walkway with small, solar-powered lanterns by night and tulips by day.
And ask your HOA where you can plant trees — and plant away. A blossoming cherry tree or apple tree in your front yard or a row of lilac bushes will set your house apart, especially in the long run.

Read: Curb Appeal to Sell Your Home

5. If applicable, finish the basement.

Many production homes come with unfinished basements. Build yours out right away and your home will not only have more space, but it will also have unique features that the neighbors don’t have. Turn the basement into a billiards room, a yoga studio, an art studio or an in-home daycare. The great thing about an unfinished basement is you can complete it to be whatever you want — unlike the pre-set floor plans for the upper levels. Plus, this extra space will benefit you when you want to sell.

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