Planning is a decision making process.
Choices are made which may be changed many times before the planning stage is complete. Planning is predicting future needs and wants and preparing to meet them. All decisions should be informed ones based on solid input. It pays to visit show homes, construction sites, stores and any other place you can gain info and ideas. Collect catalogues, home plan books and magazines for cost estimates and ideas. The internet is a powerful tool. Bookmark any relative sites that you come across and actively search for helpful sites. Municipal offices, libraries and building inspectors are all valuable sources and don’t forget friends who may be in the trades. As a caution, do not take any source as the gospel until you have verified the information a few times.
Are you good at predicting the future? You do need to look ahead and take any likely scenarios into consideration. You should even consider some fairly remote possibilities if the results are apt to be devastating. Insurance is a good backup but it can’t protect you and your family from death, injury or inconvenience. There aren’t many sure things in life but good planning can mitigate the pain of unavoidable circumstance. The future will hold many surprises. I am going to attempt to list some kinds of change which may affect us in the future and should be considered in house plans or property purchases.
Future changes in you personal situation.
- Is the size of your family likely to change?
a) Kids growing up and leaving home or getting broke and coming back.
b) Are you likely to have children?
c) Could an elderly relative need your help?
2) What if your financial situation changed drastically?
3) And if one of your family became handicapped physically?
4) Is your work secure and what of of future promotion or pay increases.
5) If for any reason you had to move could you sell or rent your home easily?
Political and economic considerations
1) Is your municipality stable or might taxes escalate drastically?
2) Is your country and region stable and secure or is war or revolution a risk?
3) Is crime reasonably controlled and is good fire response available now and in the future?
4) Are municipal services liable to be reasonably maintained in the future?
5) Are hospitals, schools and other emergency services acceptable and secure and likely to remain so?
6) Could the area or something in it be vulnerable to or the target of terrorist attack?
1) What are the trends and what might the local effects be?
1) Although mostly unpredictable some areas are more prone to things such as earthquakes or volcanic activity.
2) More predictable events such as erosion and floods can often be mitigated if the community will is there.
Population and development
1) Could a fast growing population strain available local resources?
2) Or a declining population could adversely effect property values in the future?
3) What are the chances that your property is needed for a public project like a highway, railroad or pipeline?
Since I may have some of my readers totally paranoid by now I am going to quit listing all the perils of home ownership or life in general. IT IS NOT NECCESSARY to go and live in a cave in Alaska. You face most of these risks as a renter as well and building your own home gives you the opportunity to reduce the future risks to yourself and your family.
Local building codes and zoning take into consideration many of the regional risk factors. They may be minimum acceptable standards but you have the opportunity to build to higher standards. For example, you can always have your roof trusses built for a higher snow load than required by code. Security and surveillance is not usually covered by code but it is relatively inexpensive to incorporate in a new house. Some risks are so minimal that they should only be considered if guarding against them is very inexpensive.
One area where accurate prediction has proven nearly impossible is technical innovation. This is unlikely to change in the future. I think consideration should be given to providing corridors for future wire and pipe runs when building. You just might save yourself money and headaches in the future.
And then some risks are simply worth taking. If you ever neglected to ask for something because of the fear of rejection you know what I mean. It isn’t possible to prepare for all future eventualities. We can only do our best