So, you’ve decided you want to build the home of your dreams. Congratulations on taking that big first step. In your planning stages, you may have been watching no end of home renovation shows on HGTV. If you have, our first tip is: DON’T PANIC! These programs, while entertaining, are designed to make home building and remodeling appear incredibly daunting and not for the weak of heart. That’s just not so. We’re here to share a few tips that can make your project a breeze and, dare we say, downright pleasant.
Find land or a neglected house that can be razed.
Think about where and how you want to live. Build a pros and cons list of each area you consider, and narrow it down from there.
Find a reputable building partner
Once you’ve decided where you want to live (this step is super important), find a good architect, general contractor, home builder or design-build firm. You’ll be working closely with your building partner to set realistic goals. Look for ringing endorsements from friends or family, and check out their website as well as online review sites such as Houzz for positive client testimonials. This commentary about the company’s reputation will help ensure you’re selecting the right company for the job.
Establish a firm budget.
While a budget should be one of the top items on your list of goals, it’s so important we want to include it separately. When creating your budget, of course, you’ll begin with how much you can invest overall. This number will inform everything else about your project. When you get down to brass tacks, make sure you include everything that will go into the project: land cost, fees and taxes, design and engineering costs, construction, landscaping, furnishing and decorating.
And please don’t forget to budget for a contingency. Things are bound to happen, and you don’t want them to send your budget down the drain. If you know what you can spend exactly, you’ll rest easier knowing there won’t be too many surprises.
Decide what you want and stick with it.
If you make plans for every step of the process (and every fixture, appliance, color, etc.) ahead of time, you’ll save time and money… and maybe some sanity. Yes, you might be tempted by a different way to adjust the flow of the house, or another paint color once the entire house is painted, but remember, change orders cost time and money.
Become Part of the Team
Planning a home building or renovation project is a team effort, and you’re a critical member of that team! For the best outcome, you should participate in the process from the start, so you remain up-to-speed with what’s going on every step of the way. Communication is essential, so never assume that someone on the team automatically knows what you want. You should also have unfettered access, insight, and knowledge into all of the vital project details so you can make sure your project meets all of your objectives …on time and within budget.