If you’ve been thinking about building a new home, there are probably people who are stepping up to warn you about the experience, based on their nightmares (or those of their hairdresser’s cousin’s neighbor’s friend).
When you choose to work with a reputable, experienced, professional homebuilder, you can avoid the headaches on the road to getting the home of your dreams. Here are some tips that will guide to through an enjoyable homebuilding process.
- Choose your builder carefully. The quality of the builder will be reflected in the quality of the home and the construction process. Make sure the builder you hire has the proper state licenses, experience, and references. Visit homes and talk to homeowners, if possible. Be sure the builder you select has built homes like the one you want, so you’re not paying for someone’s learning curve. Ask about warranties and scheduling. Be clear about what is included as a standard feature and which ones are considered upgrades and options.
- Establish clear expectations. At the outset, map out what you expect for the experience. How often will you need updates? Will they automatically be provided so you don’t have to chase someone down? Do you want to be able to visit the construction site? How often? Whom do you contact with questions?
- Understand your budget boundaries. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of all the changes happening in your home, but be careful you don’t let your enthusiasm drive up your costs. Know what you can afford to spend. Also be aware of where you are willing to compromise—e.g., better kitchen cabinets and less expensive flooring. Before you agree to any costs beyond the original estimate, ask for an outline in writing that details exactly what you’re getting.
- Plan ahead. Measure twice, cut once is an important concept to remember. Avoid making changes once construction is underway, because it will likely increase the cost of building your new home. Discuss your vision, goals, and style with your builder and home designer, so they can use their knowledge and experience to give you the home that best suits you. Once you’ve agreed that this is your dream house, stick with the plan.
- Never assume. Ask questions. Keep in touch with your team: the builder, the designer, and the lender. If you have concerns, doubts, or ideas, express them.
Remember, at the other end of this journey is a new home and a new life. There may be some bumps in the road, but it’s how you navigate that makes the difference between an enjoyable homebuilding process and a frustrating one.