Let’s talk new construction home regrets. We built our home in 2017 with a local Corpus Christi builder, and we’ve lived in it a little over a year and have compiled a list of 9 things we would have done differently in our new construction home.
I will preface the list by stating that overall we LOVE our home, we are beyond grateful that we live in a beautiful community, and that this list of regrets is mostly a list of things we would do differently having learned from our home building experience.
Also, many people seem to think that when building a home, you’re building a “dream home”, but there’s budget to consider on top of all the builder allowances/upgrades.
While my home is lovely and very much suited to “us”, there were things we simply couldn’t do like give me a dedicated home office with french doors (I’m using a bedroom as an office), give Daniel his circular driveway, and install hardwood floors, to name a few.
In no particular order of regrets, here we go.
Big Single Basin Sink
Words cannot describe the hatred I feel for my single compartment/basin “farmhouse” sink. It’s huge, which is what I thought I wanted, but it makes washing and rinsing difficult since you can’t really separate things.
We bought a plastic wash basin to put in there for that purpose, but then the plastic basin gets dirty and we have to wash that. It. Never Ends. The flat bottom also collects all the food particles, and I feel I waste so much water trying to keep it clean.
My Marble Tile Shower Floor
This photo above is from before we moved in. Trust me, it does not look like that now…
Marble is beautiful and all the rage right now, and we have marble LOOK tile all throughout our floors and the walls of our master shower stall. However, on our master shower floor we have REAL marble hex tile.
It’s impossible to keep looking good, the grout never dries in the spot where the water hits (despite having sealed the tile and running the vent fan after every shower), and this is why I wanted a SHOWER PAN.
I let my builder talk me out of the shower pan because it was easier for him to do the tile, but I should have stuck to what would be easiest for me to keep clean.
The Dining Room Size
My husband wanted this one added to the list because he feels like we don’t use our dining room much because it’s more of a dining nook. Truthfully, our dining “room” is definitely apartment sized, and we figured we wouldn’t use it much, but it does feel a hair on the “too small for this house” kinda size.
The island provides plenty of seating, and it’s what we use daily, but a larger dining space would definitely have been nice. We’re thinking of getting this 66″ dining table, but are worried it may be a tight fit if that gives you an idea of the size.
No Windows in the Kitchen
Most of the Instagram comments I get about my home are that it seems so bright, but it really isn’t in the afternoons due to where and how many windows there are in our open concept living space. The dining room windows get more light since they’re not under the patio area like the three main ones in the living room:
I thought those would let in a lot of light, but I didn’t factor in the patio blocking light. The wall in the bright white kitchen where there’s a ton of cabinets would have been ideal to squeeze in another small window or two to let more natural light into the space. I would have gladly given up pantry real estate to make it happen.
A Front Door with Too Many Windows
When choosing a front door, I thought I wanted one with lots of windows that were frosted for privacy. I was wrong. What I wanted was a door with a peep hole and windows at the top ONLY so that the sun isn’t blasting us when we’re watching TV. It looks as if there’s a nuclear blast outside all the time.
Our sofa is directly in line with the foyer and door, so all the light that beams in comes straight to us (on our left periphery). This was also an issue with the transom window above the door, but that was an easy fix with a solar shade. The front door is likely something we will replace very soon.
Our Tiny Back Patio
During the time we were building, we were living in an apartment, so the patio size of our new home felt giant by comparison to what we had and we thought it’d be plenty of space.
NOW that we’ve lived in our home awhile, we think our back patio is too small. We miss the size of the patio we made over in our first home:
We can barely fit our sofa and two chairs on our current patio, and we had to omit the coffee table completely for the sake of having room to walk around. A rug would take up the entire space. Sigh.
The lot our home sits on is very narrow, but long, so green space is minimal, but we still have plenty of opportunity to expand it another 10 feet or so to add an outdoor dining area without sacrificing too much grass. This is definitely something we’re considering doing in 2019 if the budget allows.
Not Splurging on Gold Bath Fixtures
I chronicled my budget struggles with choosing whether to go with chrome or gold finishes in the house, and ultimately chrome won because it’s simply more affordable and I was trying to make the most of the builder’s allowances. The one room I wish I would have splurged on the champagne gold bath fixtures in the master bathroom.
I’ve already DIY’d the cabinet hardware to turn it gold, so that will have to suffice for now, but I wish I would have just gotten the gold faucets, valve/trim/showerhead, and bathtub set I wanted. It would be pretty pricey to swap all that out, so it’s a lesson learned. Sometimes the splurge up front is worth it.
Not Adding Wallpaper to the Half Bath
A lack of planning on my part is what caused this item to fall through the cracks. I knew I wanted a bold wallpaper in the half bathroom off the foyer because it’s a small space and why not have fun with it? I didn’t choose a wallpaper fast enough, so my builder moved forward with having the paint guys texture and paint the walls.
At the time I figured it was no big deal, but once the toilet, vanity and storage cabinet were added, it seems like it’d be really, really hard to wallpaper that tight space. I’m sure I could hire it out, but I really wish I would have been more on top of it and had a wallpaper picked out and ready in time.
Not Tiling the Guest Bathroom Shower
This one really bugs my husband, but not me, but to be fair to his input, I included it. Daniel regrets going with the plain white bathtub/shower walls basic builder kit for our guest bathroom and wishes it had been a traditional tiled bathtub/shower combo for aesthetic purposes.
I can see that, but much like my shower pan that I didn’t get, this bathtub is really, really easy to keep clean. Give it a good scrub and hose it off, and it’s clean! If we end up staying here for a long time (5+ years) this will probably be an upgrade we invest in.
And my biggest regret:
I do have a major, major, MAJOR regret and that is who I used for my realtor. She and her broker were awful, lied about some pretty major things in regards to our lot/land to seal the deal and then wouldn’t do anything to remedy the situation after the fact.
Rather than lump it into this list, I’m going to write a dedicated post about the big, big, BIG lessons I learned from my terrible experience with my realtor. I will not name her or the company she works for, but if you’re in Corpus Christi and want to know who not to use, shoot me an email.
So, those are our major regrets or mainly things we’d go back in time and change if we could. We don’t regret building a home since it didn’t cost any more than going down the street and buying one that was already made in our neighborhood. Definitely something to keep in mind if you’re on the fence about building versus buying an already built home.
I’m also working on a post about things we are happy we splurged on or did during our building process to give you ideas of what TO DO. If you have questions about building a home, please let me know so I can include the answer in an upcoming post.
Wednesday 10th of October 2018
I'm new to your blog via Ash Tree Cottage. You're home looks so beautiful and if visiting one probably wouldn't even think about those things. I've never had a house built but the house we have had an old split enameled cast iron kitchen sink. It had some nicks and when we got new countertops we opted for a stainless steel split sink. The installer said we should go with a more shallow sink than we had because of something with the pipes. I hate it-no more stainless steel for me! I would take my old sink back in a heartbeat, nicks and all. I will say your sink will come in handy if you want to fill a tall stock pot with water. One thing I would love in my next house, new or used, is a window over the sink. I enjoy washing dished the old fashion way but would love to see some of my garden or birds at a bird feeder, etc. I would love a longer dining room table also. I love to make quilts and table runners and many are 60 inches long. I don't even have a dining room now and the kitchen table is about 45 inches round-we have a small starter type ranch home. I hope your budget next year helps you get some things rectified.
nancy in novato
Wednesday 10th of October 2018
We've built two homes and remodeled three. There are always regrets once the home is actually lived in. Some things you can adjust later on, others you have to learn to tolerate. You know that when building, the biggest chunk of money goes toward grading, foundation and framing...by the time you get to the end of the project, you're at the end of your funds, so you have to sacrifice the pricey fixtures you felt you had to have. We did a remodel on the second home after 10 years..reconfiguring room layouts, replacing sinks, upgrading bath fixtures, etc. Installing a "farmhouse" sink was never in the picture...they always look great in photo layouts, but seem so impractical to me. Best of luck in your new home.
Wednesday 10th of October 2018
I am sorry about your disappointments. Maybe in time these will become minor. As far as having a good realtor that hurts. I did not know how valuable having a realtor that you can trust was until we moved to Chicago and we lucked into finding the very best.
Tuesday 9th of October 2018
This is a great post. There are always things you notice once you live in a home. I hope you are able to remedy some of the things that bother you. I don't know what you do about the farmhouse style sink because of your countertop but your home is lovely. That chandelier is gorgeous.
[email protected] Stroll Thru Life
Tuesday 9th of October 2018
I love your home, it is so pretty and I understand a few things that you would change. I think that comes with any build or buy, even a remodel. There are always things you want to upgrade and do in a different way. I agree about the big single sink. I thought I wanted one and didn't put one in, then my daughter has one in her new house and like you, she hates it. So I am glad I didn't get one after all.