5 Must-Haves When Building a Custom Home in Southern Utah

The St. George real estate market is booming with no signs of slowing down any time soon, thanks to historically low mortgage rates, a strong economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and increased remote work opportunities.

As of July 2021, the Utah housing market is the top housing market in the nation. With rising numbers throughout the state's job sector, low unemployment, low mortgage rates, few mortgage delinquencies, and low state and local taxes, it is no surprise why many now call Utah 'home'.

The job landscape in Utah is also one of the best in the country. Over the last decade, the state has held the top spot for the fastest-growing job market in the country. While the employment sector surged, it brought new residents with it.

During that same time period, Utah's population increased by 18.4%, making it the fastest-growing state in the US. One look at southern Utah's beautiful desert landscape, natural amenities, and growing infrastructure, and you will quickly understand why so many people are making a move.

As many families choose southern Utah to lay down their roots, Dennis Miller Homes, a leading home builder in southern Utah, is here to not only find you a house but a place that you can call home.  

Our team offers a custom home-building process that ensures you build a home with all of the functions and features you need to know that you made the right choice. To help you get a jump start on building your dream home, we compiled a list of five must-haves that every southern Utah home needs. Here is what you should know:

Your Custom Home in St. George Needs These Features

Home Lots For Sale in Washington County

We all know the saying, "Location, location, location." But how does that apply to you? Location will determine not only where you live, but how you live, from your kid's new school to commute to nearby amenities and more.

As a southern Utah custom home builder, we know a thing or two about how a location can affect your home-building experience. We believe that choosing the right place to build is just as important as what you choose to build. Many homebuyers who work with a custom builder already have a site where they plan to build their new place. However, other buyers would prefer an expert to guide them through the site selection process.

Whichever category you fall into, Dennis Miller Homes can help. We can partner with you no matter where you are in the home-building process.

If you haven't found a home lot for sale in St. George yet, here are a few things to consider when selecting the best location to build your new home in St. George, Utah.

  1. Topography of the Land

No matter where you build, your home needs a solid foundation. Look for properties with sturdy soil that you won't need to spend a fortune to make structurally sound.

It might be as simple as pulling up the site's address on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website to find out about topography and other crucial information at FEMA.gov. You can also send a sample of the soil to an expert for a soil test or ask the seller to provide the information.

Another consideration you will need to make when selecting a site to build your home is installing utilities, plumbing, electrical wiring, and other crucial home systems. If you are looking at land for sale in Hurricane or other locations throughout southern Utah, you might want to consider the location of a septic tank. If you need to install a septic tank, the property must pass a perc test (or perk, short for "percolation") to ensure that the soil is suitable.

  1. Views

How you plan to orient your home also matters. As you explore different properties, imagine how you will design your home to capture the best views. Familiarize yourself with the entire property before making your final agreement to purchase. Many new home buyers don't take enough time touring the entire property before buying. Don't make this mistake. Instead, do the work ahead of time to ensure that you buy a piece of land that you love and where you can capture southern Utah's amazing vistas and red rock views.

  1. Future City Plans

Along with touring the property and knowing the land, you should consider how the neighborhood will look five or ten years in the future. St. George is growing rapidly, and many locations don't look like they did a year ago. You may love a rural property today without realizing that a developer is building a new commercial complex down the road. While you can't know exactly what will happen in the future, if you get as much city planning information upfront, you can create a custom home that will still be your dream home in 15 years. 

  1. Family-Oriented Environment

It is no surprise that where you choose to build will impact your kids. Costs of homes aside—do everything you can to make that impact positive by looking for properties in locations that boast a family-friendly environment. Consider school zones, parks, hiking and biking trails, libraries, and other important environments. You can spend your time looking online for information about the area or walk the neighborhood, asking people for insider information, like religious communities, number of kids in the area, school districts, sports, and more. This first-hand information will provide great insights into how people live in that area and whether it would be a good choice for your family. 

  1. Ask an Expert

Along with talking to people within the community, ask your custom home builder where people want to live in southern Utah. Our team has years of experience building homes in various areas throughout St. George. From Bloomington Hills to Washington City, we know who is moving and whether you would be a good fit. Together, we can find a site that would be the perfect spot to build your custom home.

 

Build A Custom Home That Matches Your Lifestyle 

Home-building isn't about keeping up with the Joneses anymore. Now, buyers want to create spaces where their families can thrive. Leave behind the extravagance of the 1990s and early 2000s. Instead, design a home with enough space to be comfortable, rather than enormous, extravagant rooms that you will end up leaving empty. 

To implement functionality into your custom home-building process, design a practical home that matches your lifestyle. Your home should work for your family, not against it. Consider what everyone in your family needs on a day-to-day basis. How many family members will be living in your new home? Do they work, go to school, have extracurricular activities or hobbies? How many bedrooms will you need? Bathrooms? Does your family spend a lot of time in the kitchen, watching television together, or outside?

Assessing all of your basic needs first will ensure you build to scale rather than building a home that has too much space for your family to use. However, it is important to include a few 'dream' items where you can. What are the key features that you always wished you had in your home? A butler's pantry? Five-car garage? Theater room?

Once you design a home based on your basic needs, then you should incorporate these big-ticket items. Plus, you will know upfront which features will fit your budget or if you should focus on the areas your family needs to function. If you have to leave some of the fun features off your dream home blueprint, talk with our custom home builders. We have a knack for finding a way of making it work, whether that is opting for a big flat-screen television instead of a dedicated home theater or scaling down to four bedrooms instead of five.

Our St. George custom home builders are committed to providing our clients with full transparency throughout design and construction. We also care about helping you stay on budget, which is why we bid our projects "long-hand." To help you navigate your budget, we will present you with several options in your price range. Then, you will know whether the choice you are making is within your budget or if you will splurge to get the exact home feature you want.

Whichever option you choose, we will offer our honest advice, letting you know which is best for your budget and lifestyle. It is your home. Let us give you the tools you need to design a home that makes your life easier, more comfortable, and has everything you want and more.

 

Indoor-Outdoor Home Design

Southern Utah is known for its unique weather patterns and desert climate. You don't want to build a home that removes you entirely from the beautiful outdoors. Instead, find a way to make the outdoors part of your indoor living space.

Custom Utah Home Builder in St. George | Dennis Miller Homes

There are a few different design tricks that you can implement to accomplish indoor/outdoor living—for example, large pocket doors. These massive doors sneakily slide into the wall, eliminating the wall standing between you and your backyard. It takes open concept living to the next level. Once you want to make your home itself again, simply pull the pocket doors back to their original position.

Another option to maximizing indoor-outdoor living is installing large windows throughout your home. These windows will allow expansive views of the outdoors and let in floods of natural light. Windows also reduce your need for artificial lighting and make the room appear bigger. It is a win-win for everyone living in your home.

Plus, your indoor house plants will thrive in a sunny environment, which will improve your indoor-outdoor lifestyle. 

 

Incorporate Flexible Space Into Your New Home

Flexible Space in A Custom Souther Utah HomeAs you build your new custom home, you should also implement a few flexible spaces into your new design. Today's homeowners prefer spaces that function in multiple ways rather than dedicated rooms that only work for one use.

On the other hand, flexible spaces give you the room you need to transform the space depending on your family's current and future needs.  For example, a space that you can use as a guest room, a home office, a playroom, or a craft area. These flexible spaces work well in the current remote work environment. As you work from home, you can convert your extra room into a home office during the day, gym in the morning, and playroom at night. And as a bonus, your home office can potentially provide extra tax credits, depending on your situation.

Whatever you need, a custom home design will ensure you have the space you need to build a home where your family can not only grow but thrive.

 

Mother in Law Apartment or Casita

Custom Homes with Mother In Law Apartments | Dennis Miller HomesOne of the main features St. George homebuyers look for in a new home is a mother-in-law apartment or casita. Casitas or mother-in-law apartments, also known as guest houses, are separate dwelling units (ADUs) from the main house. These separate living areas work well in southern Utah because it is a prime vacation spot for many northern Utah residents. Such a feature can be useful if you have an older parent who comes to live with you, an adult child who needs to move back home, or simply if you want to provide comfort and privacy to out-of-town visitors.

In the meantime, you can also use this dwelling as a separate home office, studio, or pool house. Another option that many St. George homeowners with casitas enjoy is listing the guest house on Airbnb to earn extra income during peak vacation seasons.

While this feature isn't always a top priority for many new homebuyers, it quickly becomes a favorite once they understand its versatility. If you are interested in including an ADU in your custom home design, speak with our southern Utah home builder. We will provide you with valuable insights, including how much it costs to build a casita.

Together, we can make the best choice for your new St. George home.

 

Southern Utah Custom Home Builders at Dennis Miller Homes

Whatever feature you choose to include in your home, partner with Southern Utah custom home builder Dennis Miller Homes. We take the stress and anxiety out of house construction by maintaining the integrity of a family name for over 35 years. Call us old-fashioned, but we still believe in the core values of every successful business: honesty, openness, and real concern. As one of the top custom house builders in St. George, we commit to you and your home every step of the way!

Allow us to put our experience and knowledge to the test as we design and build a custom home in a prime location, matches your lifestyle, maximizes indoor-outdoor living, has flexible space, and has a separate guest house. However, we understand that while these features are key for many southern Utah buyers, every customer has unique requirements. No matter your needs, we are prepared to satisfy them by customizing a home just for you.

Schedule a free consultation today to get started building your new custom home.

 

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