If you are at a place in your life where you are ready to build that home of your dreams- congratulations! That is an goal that has been achieved through years of hard work and financial planning. Now that it is time to start to break ground on the home you may spend the rest of your life living in and loving, here are a few tips to think about as you begin the building process.
Know Your Limits
If you are busy running the kids around to soccer practice, ballet, piano lessons, and karate and you barely have a spare second to yourself between work, school, kids, and pets, this might not be the right time. Building the home of your dreams is a time commitment as much as a financial one. You have to be ready to meet with builders, contractors, sub-contractors, inspectors, and insurance agents frequently and sometimes at a moment’s notice. If you take too much of a step back from the building process, you might walk into a house that you don’t love anymore. You need to make sure you are able to be part of the decision making process every step of the way to ensure you are truly getting the home of your dreams.
You also need to know your limits financially. Building a home can get expensive quickly. Hiring contractors and sub-contractors can often run your budget higher than you expected. Be ready to put your foot down when the time comes, but make sure you prepare for the unexpected. The lot you bought might not be perfectly level, or you might need to buy all new tile once you realize that the showroom lighting was way different than the way the tile looks inside your house. With any build, things go sideways and you need to be financially prepared to deal with those unexpected events.
Plan Down to the Last Detail
It may seem silly to plan out where you want every single light switch and power outlet, but if you don’t, you may end up with a kitchen that doesn’t have outlets for all of your necessary gadgets. Look on Pinterest, check out magazines, look around your own home, and visit model homes in your area to get an idea of where you might want to place these things. When you are building your own home, you get to control where you want these- and you might surprise yourself with how creative and convenient you can be! Think about outlets for Christmas lights outside or cabinet outlets for hair dryers in the bathroom. Think about if you want to decorate your yard with landscape lights in your flowerbeds and how you would run power to them. Do you have an extra fridge or freezer, what about another washing machine or dryer? Now is the time to build the outlets that you need so your home is perfect right from the start.
In addition to power outlets and light switches, make sure you plan for the size and layout of your furniture. When it comes time to frame your house you don’t want to wish you had moved that living room wall back by six inches so you had space for your TV stand and the giant wraparound couch. Look at your existing furniture or the furniture that you plan to buy for your new home. How large are the dining table and chairs? Make sure your dining room is large enough to fit the set comfortably without being too crammed or oddly roomy. If you are considering adding a game room or a pool table, make sure you plan the space accordingly- smacking a brand new wall with a pool cue will be no fun at all.
Finally, think long and hard about your paint choices, cabinets, and flooring. It is so much easier to install those things in an empty house than it ever will be once you are moved in and decide to change your mind. Plus, you will drag your build out and therefore drive your costs up if you are continuously indecisive about the tile that you want in the bathroom or the wood you prefer for your kitchen cabinets. You have the opportunity right now to make everything perfect so take the time to really plan in advance everything that you want so when the time comes to build, you are ready with all the answers your contractors will have for you.
Building a brand new home can be a totally overwhelming process. Make sure you protect yourself by getting insurance to protect your huge investment. There is an insurance out there called Self Build Insurance that helps to protect you from unforeseen disasters. You don’t want to be on the hook for injury liability or if your contractors accidentally damage the home next to yours during the construction process. Have you ever heard of pallets full of expensive tile being stolen from the job site in the middle of the night? Yeah, self build insurance can protect you from that nightmare wallet-sucking headache. It can even protect you from storm damage.
One more thing to think about when protecting yourself and your dream home-in-progress, is to seriously do your homework on your contractors. You probably need to hire an architect, a builder, and you want to have input on the sub-contractors who will be putting in your electrical work, cabinets, HVAC system, etc. Make sure you are working with reputable companies that are fully licensed and you need to be sure that you trust them to not only complete your vision, but make decisions on your behalf when you cannot personally be there to make them. Also, make sure you find contractors who will design a pay schedule that doesn’t involve you paying for everything up-front. This way you can be sure that you are able to negotiate along the way and stay happy with the progress that your builders are making.
Last but not Least…
Try to enjoy the process. Take lots of pictures and look past the stresses and the sleepless nights and the constant decisions to the home that is being built from your vision. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to build your dream home and it might be the only time in your life you get to experience the building process firsthand, so enjoy it!