So you’ve decided that it’s time to design and build the perfect custom home for your family. Taking on such a big project is a huge commitment, and there are going to be pitfalls and setbacks along the way, but with a little advance planning you can minimize or even avoid many of these.

The Ernst brothers are now backed by Arthur Rutenberg Homes, building beautiful luxury homes around Hendersonville and the rest of Middle Tennessee. With their 30 years of expertise, and the 60 years of the Arthur Rutenberg Homes name, the Ernsts are skilled at avoiding a lot of big problems. But ultimately, it will be your home, and they’re going to do their best to meet your needs. That means you need to spend some time carefully thinking about those needs.

Here are three common pitfalls that new homeowners or home builders run into, and why you should avoid them.

1. Misused, unused, or not enough space: It might be that you want to keep things simple and use one of the existing floor plan designs that Arthur Rutenberg Homes provides. However, there might be things that need to be adjusted according to your family and what you’ll actually use. For one thing, is there enough storage space? Don’t fool yourself thinking that you don’t want to risk having too many places to throw junk; rather, think about how you can make good use of storage space. You’ll probably want a pantry to keep food and save the cabinets for dishes and cookware. If you have a set of fine china, you might want a built-in china cabinet to protect and display it. Think about closets not only for clothes and linens, but for the kids’ toys, family photo albums, and even a space for the vacuum cleaner and other cleaning supplies. You’ll probably want some space outdoors to store some sports equipment and pool toys; if you want to keep tools or holiday decorations in the garage, consider adding storage space in there so you’re not filling up a spot where a car could go.

Likewise, think about what kind of spaces and rooms you really need. Will your family make use of a formal parlor, living room, or dining room? These days, most families spend their time in a great room, den, or family room, and the more formal spaces get neglected. If you think that might be the case, consider opting out of these rooms.

2. Not planning for the future: You’ll probably stay in your custom home for years to come, so it’s a good idea to not only think about what you want now, but what you’ll want later. For instance, do you want to put in a pool, or add some more bedrooms down the road? Put them into the plan for the house so there’s space, plumbing and electrical for such things. Are you a couple considering children, or a small family considering more children? Would you like to take care of your parents at home as they get older? Make sure there’s enough space in the house for everyone to be comfortable.

Even the layout makes a difference. If you think you’ll be in the house for decades to come, you might want to put the master suite on the ground floor, so you don’t have to climb stairs as you get older. Also think about the flow of the room, so that noisy areas are away from bedrooms, there are plenty of big, open family spaces, and so on. And be realistic about things like outdoor spaces; are you really going to use five or six different patios or porches, or will they mostly go unused?

3. Not prioritizing or pricing. Your home project is going to cost more than you think, but you should at least have a good idea of how much you’ll spend going in. That means you need to spend some time prioritizing features and fixtures you want in the house, then shopping for ones you like so you don’t end up shelling out thousands more dollars to upgrade later. That includes things like energy-efficient appliances; a lot of people don’t want to spend the money up front, thinking they’ll upgrade later, but often end up never getting better appliances. If you prepare for costs like this at first, you can figure out where you can save in other areas, or what features you might be willing to let go.

Your custom home is a big commitment, no doubt. With a little forethought and careful planning, though, you can build exactly the home you will love now and for years to come.