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Before you pick a lot or choose a builder, it's important to picture your new home. Dream big. Reality (the budget) will come later.

Write down all the features you want included — fabulous kitchen, luxurious master bath, man cave, outdoor entertainment area, sun room. Don't forget to include your kids. You'll be surprised how creative they can be, and it will help get them involved in the building process.

Then prioritize your list. Pick two or three features you won't compromise on — these are the essentials and the reason you're building a new home.

Next, select a type of home that fits your family's needs. A two-story house may be perfect for a growing family with young kids, while a ranch-style home might be a perfect for retirees. Many singles or empty-nesters can find the space they want in a patio home.

Don't ignore what's going up around you. At some point you may have to sell your house. You want your home to be unique but not completely out of the ordinary, which will lower the resale value of your home.

In Lincoln, ranch homes are the most popular. Over the past 12 months, 82% of all homes sold were ranches, 13% were 2-stories, 3% were split levels and 1.5% were one-and-a-half story homes. If there is a chance you may have to move unexpectedly for work or other reasons, it makes sense to build a ranch.

Once you've created your list of essential features and picked the type of home that's right for your family, it's time to start looking for a place to build your home and a builder to turn your dream into a reality. We’ll talk about how to do that next week.

About the author

Vladimir Oulianov has been a specialist in energy-efficient homes in Lincoln since 2002. He is ranked in the top 100 real estate agents in the U.S. and is the top Salesperson in Lincoln for the last 6 years. Other awards include a Lincoln’s Choice Award from the Lincoln Journal Star for Best real estate agent, a 40 under 40 Award from the Lincoln Business Journal and Realtor of the Year from Woods Bros Realty.

Vladimir's Real Estate Services believes in Fair Housing and an Equal Opportunity for all. Contact him at 402-890-0535 or vladimir@woodsbros.com.

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