Building a home is a mammoth task to take on. There’s no doubt about that. You might think you should leave it all up to professionals but if you’re not prepared for some responsibility you can’t expect to end up with the home you’ve been dreaming about. You’re going to have plenty to do yourself to make sure you end up with the home you want. And to make it go as smoothly as possible, there are a few mistakes that trip up plenty of first-time builders you should learn to avoid.
Not having the finance sorted early
If you start getting the plans in motion and get the ball rolling before you have yourself financially prepared, you’re going to be putting yourself in a very precarious situation. Make sure you’re in the best possible position to get yourself a loan, first of all. Not just in terms of your own credit score, but make sure you have things like the building plan and a contractor ready to show the bank that you’re serious about the mortgage. Find out how much you can get approved for before you make any decisions, however. Only when you know how much money you have should you start putting together a serious budget. Get in detail with that budget as much as you can based on the contractors, materials, and other services you’re going to use. Otherwise, your money will drain a lot faster than you might anticipate and the whole budget might be gone before you finish the home.
Starting from scratch
Having a detailed idea of what you want from a home is going to make it a lot easier to get the right plan. However, it’s not always a good idea to get a custom plan put together. If your needs are fairly simple, then there’s a good chance that architect services already have the plan you need at a cheaper rate than you would have one made for. Even if it’s more a luxury home you want, like those designed by Vision One Homes and price isn’t as much of an issue, time might be. The time it takes to develop a luxury home with all the features you want could hold up the building process a lot more than it should.
Not getting a general contractor
It doesn’t matter what anyone says. You should not act as your own general contractor for the home. Wanting to manage the build and ensure everything is going as it should is one thing. But you don’t have the kind of relationships with subcontractors and service providers that experience contractors do. Putting your home in the hands of another is a scary business. So, you should research contractors to make sure their experience, portfolio and pricing strategies match your wants. But don’t use it as an excuse to think you can take it all on yourself.
Listening too much to your general contractor
Of course, that’s not to say that should relinquish the final say to your chosen contractor at all times. When it comes to changes that might need to be made in the design, you should always have the deciding vote, regardless of what their experience tells them. Taste and comfort are subjective so make sure you put your foot down when necessary. You might be inclined to find your own materials and built-in furniture options, too. The contractor might have some contacts that can make it convenient and quick. That doesn’t mean you should be stopped from doing your own research, however.
Making changes after the plans are done
Some changes might need to happen once the plan is finalized and construction is complete. Usually, these are changes of necessity. What you don’t need are changes of your own mind during the process. Yes, your own home should fit your tastes as much as possible but if you’re changing what those tastes are in the middle of the project, it can cause huge delays. Instead, spend more time thinking about you truly want from the home before the plans are finalized. If you’re having trouble, then take the time to create a wish list and check it off against your current plans. The simple act of organizing your thoughts can make it easier to remember things you’ve missed rather than having them spring up in the middle of the project.
If you want to make the build fit the budget or get done quicker, it might be tempting to try and cut some corners. You might think to use a cheaper material or downsize your plans when it comes to fundamentals like bricks and windows. Usually, this is done to make room later in the budget for things like a fancy kitchen-top or a bath you’re just dying to have. Focus on the fundamentals first. If you have to, then hold off on the less immediate purchases like those kitchen or bathroom fixtures. You can always get the money for them later but you can’t go back and make changes to the windows without incurring an even greater expense. Again, you can avoid this mistake entirely by being thorough with your budget.
Not being ready for information overload
Don’t expect your contractor to make all your choices and come up with ideas for you. You’re going to have to have your own mind about choices and there are going to be plenty to make. Not just where to erect walls and what materials to use, but little details like what light fixtures to put in are going to come at you every day. If you haven’t taken the time to plan them thoroughly and think about everything from fundamentals to furniture beforehand, you can get lost in the details. Again, take your time and plan before you start getting the contractor involved.
Asking for too much
When building a home, it can be easy to throw in as much as possible. More rooms, more fixtures, more space. If you have the money for it, it is tempting. But you should think about the longer-term implications of those choices as well. For one, the house is going to cost more in terms of tax and utility bills. But what’s even worse is living in a home where you simply don’t use the rooms you have. Besides the guest room, underutilized rooms become more of a chore than a value to the home and most often get used as extra storage for things you might not otherwise store. Ask yourself if you’re truly going to use all the space and all the rooms in your current plan.
Expecting everything to go right
The above points are going to help you avoid a certain degree of delay and some extra expenditures. But circumstances do change even in the best-planned of home builds. Delays are going to happen and you are most likely going to go over budget through no fault of your own. Make sure you plan for these hiccups. Have room in the schedule for delays and have a contingency fund to deal with unexpected costs. Otherwise, those small hiccups can turn from molehills to mountains that can jeopardize the completion of the build in total. Nothing goes perfectly, especially in the world of construction. Expect that to prove true.
It's a lengthy and complicated process and not everything is going to go as smooth as possible. But the steps above, avoiding those early pitfalls, can save you a lot of time and effort.