Building a dream home from scratch can be a very rewarding process. That is, as long as you know what you’re getting into.
For starters, keep in mind that house building isn’t a passive exercise. Tailoring a home to your tastes involves making a myriad of decisions. Needless to say, some of your home builder ideas will be better than others.
This is where your builder’s expertise comes in. Since this is just another job for them, they’ll be able to provide valuable feedback. As long as you communicate with them on the regular, the building process should go more smoothly.
Want to make their — and your — job even easier? Here are the 7 main things to consider when building a house.
1. Have a Plan in Place
The first step in constructing a house is knowing what it should look like. Without a plan, your house may end up looking like a labyrinth.
Start by creating a floor plan. This determines the size, style, and features of your building, so it serves as a perfect baseline. Try not to go overboard, as you’ll need to pay for each square foot of space, whether it’s used or not.
While creating the floor plan, it can be helpful to focus on the details. For example, what direction will the house face on the lot? What kind of lighting will you opt for, and how many power points will you need?
This is also a good time to start thinking about the building materials you’ll use. If you’re interested in eco-friendly products, consider going with titan bricks. Here’s where you can find out more about this type of material.
2. Look for Ways to Save
There’s no way around it — house construction can get expensive. That said, there are various ways you can save money.
One thing you can do is pick a site that won’t need as much preparation. Clearing brush, removing rocks, and hauling off dirt can be a costly venture. Also, get multiple quotes for the tools you’ll need during construction.
If you end up adding more glitz and gadgets, try to balance it out elsewhere. Do you have your mind set on a master bathroom and expensive tile flooring? Make space in your budget by going with cheaper sinks and appliances.
3. Pick the Right Builder
This may be the most important decision you’ll need to make. No matter who you hire, you’ll likely work with them for many months.
First, you’ll want to make sure that your builder has the right credentials. The two main policies to look for are General Liability and Workers’ Compensation. The builder should also be a member of the NAHB.
You should also look at the company’s past work and confirm it suits your design style. Many builders specialize in constructing a specific type of home. If the house you want is outside their area of expertise, look elsewhere.
While you’re checking their past work, feel free to contact their previous customers. Take a look at their online reputation as well. Finally, ensure that they communicate well and that you can afford their services.
4. Understand Your Contract
Once you find a builder you’re satisfied with, you’ll need to sign a contract with them. Before doing that, read through it carefully.
The main purpose of a contract is to clarify what each side expects of the other. It should include estimated costs and a clear breakdown of where the money is going. Make sure that the time frame for construction suits your needs.
Keep in mind that most builders’ contracts only protect the building company. That’s why it’s helpful to include some of the more detailed contract components. Examples include heated/unheated spaces, utility connections, and the like.
As a final precaution, have your lawyer or real estate agent take a look at the contract. This will ensure that any variations are well documented and agreed upon.
5. Keep Records
Unfortunately, no contract is perfect. No matter how foolproof it seems, some issues will remain prone to interpretation.
When these issues do occur, you won’t want to leave anything to chance. Follow up verbal instructions with extensive documentation. This includes receipts, sales slips, records of correspondence, and so on.
If you’re unable to reach a resolution, you might face disputes and confrontations. In extreme cases, this may lead to litigation. Nonetheless, don’t be afraid to exercise your rights if the situation calls for it.
6. Budget for the Unexpected
When it comes to building a house on a budget, most people fail to account for added construction costs.
For instance, you may need to pay fees for special permits that your builder will need. Labor costs can fluctuate due to various factors. Depending on the state of your site, you may need to alter the land before construction.
Delays and unforeseen circumstances are also a part of the construction process. You may need to replace materials or pay your workers for extra days. To be on the safe side, assume an additional 10% of your budget to cover these costs.
7. Be Flexible
Being ready to compromise is always the right course of action. Still, try to be aware of what you’d be giving up in any situation.
See, your builder is likely fully capable of doing anything you wish. That said, unique requests rarely come cheap. If you’re interested in new technology or untested equipment, expect your wallet to take a hit.
Above all, you need to understand that construction is not a perfect science. No matter what your idea of a dream house looks like, you’re unlikely to achieve it. Instead of aiming for perfection, focus on bigger things that need correcting.
More on Home Builder Ideas
As you can see, construction isn’t for the faint of heart. Still, surrounding yourself with the right people will make the process more enjoyable.
One final thing to keep in mind is that you should always be businesslike in your dealing with the builder. Though you’ll work with them for a while, they’re still working for you. Getting a good price doesn’t make them your friends.
Looking for more home builder ideas you can use in your design? Want to make the most out of limited space? Check out our “Home Improvement” section!