Whether or not building is your ultimate goal, it is important that you are aware of and avoid giant strawberries.
An actual giant strawberry is too large, often contorted or stretched looking, and devoid of flavor and color on the inside.
In real-estate terms, a giant strawberry is a house that is big for the sake of bigness with little attention to detail or usability. Cavernous rooms, tiny windows, and ill-conceived layouts are hallmarks of a house that was built simply to satisfy a requirement for X number of rooms and Y square feet. It is different from a McMansion in that it does not attempt to be particularly fancy–it’s big for the sake of being big.
Other attributes of a giant strawberry include poor quality materials, redundant rooms (two shared bathrooms within feet of one another), non-functional kitchen layouts, doors that swing into one another, and offices or massive “closets” that can’t be called bedrooms because they don’t have an exterior window for egress.
You may find yourself leafing through hundreds of architectural designs. Be sure you thoroughly examine any design you are considering and don’t just go off of specs and a pencil sketch drawing of the front of the house. Get a good idea of what it will look like from the sides and back, and really imagine yourself walking through it. See this post for more information on visualizing the completed structure.
Photo credit: The Austin Sage, M. Martinez