7. Are the rooms you'll use the most sized appropriately?
When reviewing a plan, don't just look at the room sizes. Think about rooms in terms of their total percentage of the home's square footage. Just multiply the length of a room by its width, and then divide by the home's total square footage. For example, a large master suite can take up 20 percent of the space in a home, which is fine if you use the space for more than sleeping, such as to house workout equipment or a reading area. But if you rarely spend time there, consider modifying the plan to convert some of that area into a more functional space, or look for a plan with a smaller master suite.
8. Are amenities more important than the size of the home?
Generally speaking, your home-building dollars buy either space or amenities. You have to decide which is more important. The temptation is to take your overall home-building budget and divide it by an average per-square-foot cost to yield the total square footage you can afford. But remember that an average cost will get you average amenities and finishes. If you want a higher level of either, you'll have to enlarge your budget or decrease the size of the house.
9. Will the home's level of openness work with your tastes in decorating?
Eclectic decorating styles can work in almost any floor plan, but not all styles are so forgiving. If your themes are consistent from room to room, an open floor plan will be fine. Varied furniture styles or a preference for using many colors may make a more traditional floor plan with separate rooms a better choice. At the very least, you should consider how your furniture and decorating preferences can blend into the plan you are evaluating.
10. Are there spaces for special-interest rooms, such as hobby areas or exercise rooms?
As you're figuring out the types and sizes of spaces within your home, remember the fun stuff. If you like to read, include a book nook. Add a third garage bay to house a workshop or potting bench. A trend in home design is to include a family activity center where everyone can pursue hobbies. If budgets are tight, consider having specialty spaces built but left unfinished for now. It's more economical than remodeling later.
You may never find a single plan that incorporates all of your needs. With thousands of plans to choose from, though, an organized search will help you get close. Then you can have changes made to create a home that is just right for you.