Tips for building your new home. Building a new home can seem like an overwhelming task, but there are significant rewards to turning that vision to reality. If you understand the homebuilding process and the potential pitfalls, you can achieve that dream with relative ease. Here are some tips for building your new home. Know what you can afford. Just like shopping for a home, you should have a clear figure in mind. Then take the time to get pre-approved to give you peace of mind as you shop for the features in your new home. Decide on your priorities. Size, number of rooms, chef’s kitchen, spa bathroom, flooring, finished basement, home office, and outdoor living space are a few considerations. What trade-offs are you willing to make? Which features will add lasting value to the resale? Ask friends and family what they love about their homes, and what they wish they could change or add. Find and interview builders. Choosing a reputable builder who understands your vision and your financial situation is essential to a smooth homebuilding process. Check the local Home Builder’s Association for names; don’t consider anyone who isn’t a member. Ask local Realtors about builders their clients have used. Does the builder have a current license, and sufficient damage and liability insurance? Is he bonded? Will he provide a written home warranty? Does the builder have any building disputes, currently or in the past? Look at the homes these companies have built. Do they fit your style? Ask for references and interview the homeowners to gauge their satisfaction with the builder and the home itself. If you can, visit the homes and look at the quality. More builders are offering a Web-based program where you can track the progress on your home, including photos. If this is something you want, be sure to ask about it! Know what you’re getting. Be clear on what materials and services are included in the price, and what is going to be extra. How much insulation is included? What will be used for constructing the sub-floors? What specific windows, flooring, plumbing, and electrical are figured in the price? Are the building materials eco-friendly? Your contract should specify the permits that will be required, and who is in charge of obtaining them. You should have a written timeline, price, down payment requirement, and payment schedule. The builder should identify sub-contractors who will be working on your house. Finally, ask about change orders. If you change your mind on any features, how will it be handled? Building your new home doesn’t have to be stressful. Stay tuned into the process, keep open communication with the builder, and never be afraid to ask questions!