Prioritizing Needs vs. Wants

Custom Home Design Checklist

Prioritizing Needs vs. Wants

When you begin the design and budgeting process for building a custom home, it’s important that you and your family begin prioritizing each other’s needs vs. wants.  We suggest using the Design Preferences Checklist as a good place to start. This should take about 30-60 minutes, but will save you a lot of time, arguments, and dollars!   You can also use a spreadsheet so you can rank and sort accordingly.  Here are some other design considerations.

Everyone Has Different Priorities

Everyone in your home has a concept of what makes the home ideal for them and their chosen lifestyle goals.  Perhaps Dad wants a detached three-car garage for his car collection?  Perhaps mom wants an in-home gym or large pool area for entertaining?  And, while the kids aren’t necessarily decision-makers, they probably have a few ideas about their dream home too?

Each member of the family should compile three lists – your needs, wants, and dreams. Rank and prioritize the needs and wants accordingly.  The design preferences checklist will help you evaluate the wants and needs first.  The items on your “dreams list” may be negotiated later, depending upon your budget requirements. After you have independently created your own list, get together and share your lists. There may be some things in common and there may be some things that are uniquely your own. You may need to compromise on your lists, based on your budget. The goal is to take time to review and discuss which items can be moved farther up or down the list to create one master list. This is the list you will ultimately review with your architect and builder to determine where your budget should be.


Even if you have a large budget, there is likely a top-end to the dollars and resources you want to invest in your new home.  The prioritization of needs vs. wants will help determine the overall budget.  As you begin to refine your design, utilizing the design preferences, you will see where either your budget needs to be refined.  Perhaps your list of wants and needs can be accommodated or perhaps there is room for a few items from your dreams list.

Download the Design Preferences Checklist

By utilizing the checklist, you will help ensure your master design list incorporates all of the elements you’ve agreed on, as well as the few items that remain on your wants or dream list that are open for discussion.  This will make the entire design and budgeting process much easier for you, your builder, architect, and even interior designer.

If you are thinking about building your once-in-a-lifetime custom luxury home, be sure to download our ebook: “Designing & Building Your Custom Dream Home: How to Create an Experience You’ll Love to Remember.”  You can also download many of the checklists referenced in the book from our website.

If you want to create a truly enjoyable, memorable custom home building experience, contact Mueller Homes today to begin the process!


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