So you’ve decided to build yourself a new home – that’s great! Congratulations! Nothing beats the thrill
of designing and building your dream home from the ground up.
It's a one-of-a-kind experience. Plus, you get the flexibility to improve your designs as you see fit. Most would-be homeowners opt for purchasing an existing one rather than building from scratch because they have plenty of options to choose from, and it's generally cheaper and more convenient. And that is definitely a good option. It's a safe option. More often than not, houses are sturdy enough to last for decades, can easily be modified, and have the potential to increase in value.
Nonetheless, newly constructed homes have some undeniable advantages. A new house can be custom-designed to meet your specific requirements. You don't have to worry about hidden problems or hazardous materials like lead-based paint or asbestos. Most people would prefer to build their own house if they had the resources.
The key to building a home you'll love living in is figuring out what you want from it. What matters most to you and your family? Once you can answer this question, the design will naturally fall into place. This will be a time consuming and demanding venture, but if you're armed with a good plan, it doesn't have to be overwhelming.
Here's what you need to know before building your own home.
Know What You Are Getting Into
We don't want to scare you away from building, but there are numerous factors to consider before embarking on this journey. The first one is the significant time investment. You can think of this as a part-time job, and in some weeks, it will be full-time.
You may be already thinking that it will be time-consuming, but you how no idea how much, so if you're already overloaded with work, children and other responsibilities, now may not be the best time to build.
Building a house is also tough on a marriage, primarily because of the financial stress. Money is a common cause for arguments in relationships, and when you're building a house from scratch, it always ends up costing more than you anticipated.
Maybe you've been saving money to make this dream come true for the past ten or fifteen years, so going over budget will be quite stressful. In some instances, you'll disagree on design decisions that also affect your budget, leading to more stress and tension.
Mostly, you'll feel overwhelmed and exhausted by how much you have to do and sometimes you'll take it out on each other.
Hire the Right People
This is very important. In fact, it's the single most important decision you will have to make because you'll be working closely with these people all throughout a lengthy and demanding process. Your entire experience will be heavily influenced by your relationship with them.
If you don't have any previous experience with building houses, be thorough with your research before deciding. Ask for referrals, look for reviews and talk to several builders and architects before choosing your team. They'll be the ones that will bring in workers, hire access equipment and order the materials. It's also a good idea to request the names and contact information of their last three clients to get some insight into what their experience was like and what you can expect.
Some subtle clues can also be significant. For example, if a builder always takes a long time to get back to you, it might mean they'll be slow to respond once you start working with them, making the whole process a lot more frustrating. Like we said before, you'll be working closely with these people, and you want to be able to get along.
If everything looks good on paper, but you find it hard to communicate with them, it might be better to choose someone else. Once work gets started, it's bad enough that you might argue with your partner from time to time, arguing with your builder or architect is the last thing you need.
Think about Furniture Placement Early On
You won't think about this at first, but it's better to plan where you will set the furniture early on. Making big changes like moving a wall because you realized the kitchen you initially planned is too small will delay the project and make you go over your budget.
You need to think about how you want to live in the space. You can measure rooms in your current home and try to imagine how the furniture will be laid out, but it's better to use software. You can discuss these things with your architect or builder, and they'll probably have some tools to help you.
Take Care of the Legalities
There are a number of legal requirements that must be met before you start building. You have to find out what permits are needed in your area and take out insurance in case something goes wrong.
Of course, you'll also want to check that everyone working on your future home is licenced and your contractor has the right insurance.
The chances that you're going to go over budget are quite high, so you'll want to secure financing before getting started. Otherwise, you might run out of money halfway through the project. Ideally, you should have at least 20 to 30% more than your budget says for unexpected costs.
If you don't have this kind of money saved up, you'll need to take out a loan. If you do this early, you'll have time to research different banks, compare offers and choose the best one.
You'll Make Mistakes
While some things do work out, be prepared for a slew of blunders. That's just how it is. No amount of planning will make everything go perfectly. Building a house requires a large number of people. This means there'll be many moving pieces, and it's impossible to control them all every second of the process.
The good news is that some things will actually turn out better than you had hoped. Sometimes you'll be stressed about one mistake that will get fixed later or that your builder can adapt to so it doesn't result in the disaster you were imagining.
You'll become so immersed in this adventure that a misaligned sink sprayer will haunt you for days. Try to distance yourself a little bit whenever you can and gain some perspective. Once it's finished and you get to live in your new house, you'll forget about details that seem awful now.