What to Know Prior to Building your New Home
Created by: Federica Chacón
Building a new home is an exciting and elaborate experience that can take years before the foundations are even poured. The process is daunting, but being well-equipped with plenty of knowledge and information is critical. It can save you lots of time, money, and misunderstandings. Knowing a few things before you get started can ensure that the construction process, if handled correctly, is straightforward and, therefore, more efficient and cost-effective.
Before building your new home, you should know three key things: budgeting, choosing the lot and house plan, and assembling your team. These are not easy, but knowing the basic dos and don'ts goes a long way when starting your research process. So let me break it down for you:
Budgeting is the first step and one of the most important ones in determining how the rest of the process will play out. To start right, you have to choose a realistic estimate of how much you are willing to spend on the project. Consider your savings, current income, how things are going with your job, your savings, etc. Then, with that information, you can start making your way to banks to check out which loans you qualify for, which will further clarify the budget for your dream home. This will also help you adjust whatever is necessary if the loan doesn't cover the amount you need, thus creating a new realistic budget.
While at this, you should also start researching costs for the land or lot where you want to build your new house. Also, search for the house design style/floor plan design that suits your needs, lifestyle and budget, contractors/subcontractors, and the finish materials. You should compare suppliers' costs for different exterior and interior finish materials. Get bids from three to five homebuilders/contractors/sub-contractors while checking their references and availability. This is a good time to whip out a top-level excel sheet and start imputing all these data to make educated and organized decisions. At this point, it's crucial to calculate and include overruns (nine out of ten projects experience cost overruns, according to market experts).
2. Choosing the lot and the house plan
If you don't have a piece of land or lot and need to start looking for one, you must talk with a realtor and get a ballpark price for it in the areas you would like to have it and have singled out for your construction plan. After selecting a few to look at, it's key to investigate factors such as soil condition, drainage, building laws, utilities, utilities & infrastructure, slopes, topography, etc.
At his stage, questions such as should I hire an architect or go semi-custom? How or where can I find the right architect for my house? How can I make a good house design? Can I design my house plan? Well, you will have to answer them all to ensure you are taking the right and convenient path.
With a lot in mind, it's time to search and choose a beautiful house design style with the best floor plan design possible. One that fits your needs and lifestyle perfectly. You can opt for a custom-made design at this stage, requiring hiring an architect to develop the project from scratch. Or you can go semi-custom. Either way you go has its pros and cons. If you take the semi-custom option, you have to search for and purchase a ready beautiful modern house plan design from a trusted source (check ours out here). ). If you think long-term, either option must guarantee that the selected house plan/floor plan design will last many decades. In addition, its house floor plan must be flexible enough to accommodate possible future space changes. For example, bedrooms that could host efficiently other activities or even a home office that can later be used as a guest room or a music room. It's also crucial to consider space planning while considering realistic space usage (mechanical room, deposits, closets, pantry, etc.) This will help you avoid ending up with a gorgeous home where everything fits.
3. Assemble your team and negotiate contracts
Your team should look like this: a builder, an excavator, a surveyor, a home designer or an architect, an engineer, etc. Counting on support from a home designer or an architect while building your new home is always an excellent resource. Once your construction team is in place, you must decide how you want to participate. It is no easy feat, so providing clear, transparent, and on-time communication among all team members is vital. In addition, it reduces misunderstandings which might create construction delays and execution misses, as poor communication is the main reason for project failures.
That said, it is essential to know that these processes are for people with the time and patience to be fully involved. Sometimes homeowners can be as much a hindrance as a help. Consider if you're the best person to keep communication fluid or your partner is a better candidate. Having one person involved can be great for avoiding misunderstandings, but choose wisely.
Almost everyone who owns a home invests enormous sums of money and risks large amounts of debt to hold it. Our advice? Find yourself a wiz with spreadsheets –maybe you, your partner, a personal assistant, or a friend– who can help you navigate through all of it and keep your ducks in a row.
The effort, time, and money required to build a new home will undoubtedly be higher if the process is not handled correctly right from the start. But on the other hand, the reward will be immensely satisfying if the process is handled correctly... There is no better feeling than living in your dream home.