If you are building your dream home, everything has to be perfect! and it will not! Don’t put the added pressure on your self, your relationship, and your builder. Get it mostly right – develop the overall vision! What are you trying to accomplish? When do you want to move in?
1- Scheduling is critical! In building a new home – the schedule is as important as the budget. Don’t keep asking the builder to change or add to and be surprised if he/she is not finished on time! It is you not them! Keep it simple. Set time checks in your schedule so there are no unseen surprises. Three months we will break ground, then drywall, then appliances, and finally the finish. Confirm these expectations with your builder and cooperate on the necessary adjustments in the beginning, so you are both on the same page! Then you must allow margin – I recommend 60 days! There are some things unpredictable health, weather, supplies and yes, even changes require a reset of expectations. When building custom, margin is required so prepare Plan B for delays.
2 – When it’s Right you Know It! This is the first impression! The home you drive by and always sigh with appreciation. Ahhh! It is so beautiful! What is so beautiful to you? Is it the roof lines, the front door, the landscaping, or the siting? Maybe it is the colors or a combination of elements. Most likely it is not the whole thing! Understand what it is you want and most importantly what you don’t want. The exterior presentation invites you in – makes you smile and sets the tone for your joy – Home is Where the Hear it is!
3 – Our Lifestyle is unique with a few basics! Most of us want closets, bathrooms and kitchens – after that we are unique! Building a custom home is all about lifestyle! Things most important to you get the most room! Do you love to play with the kids, or entertain – Do you love the flow of open living or do you prefer the ability to have each space be purposeful and complete! Open living provides maximum flow but limits walls and furniture placement! Television crannies or big screens everywhere! Large Master Bedroom protecting privacy and luxury or lots of rooms for guests and family!
4 – The Budget – Everyone has a budget! It may be decided by a loan (what do I qualify for) or it may be decided by a value of substitution (everything I spend here reduces something elsewhere). Understand your needs – if conservative – set aside your savings and make a list of features you want and how they develop overtime. If you are efficient with time and wish to have the whole enchilada – set aside a plan with the funds available and make a list of the must have features! If you want flooring and appliances and fireplaces now – develop a value of use…. If you use the fireplace more than the kitchen it is valuable to invest where you spend your time.
5 – Thing classic is an investment key as well as the key to contentment! Remember this home will last for many, many years – often outliving the people! Times change and you change and it is wise to consider the permanence of the test of time. Don’t allow architecture to be your limiting factor! Think of your home as a backdrop – kitchen counters and cabinets and floors are best neutral! Spice up the flare with furniture, window treatments and paint! Your permanence in the architecture can support your style – any style!
6- Use the nooks – it can be the best part like the tasty tidbits in a salad! As a custom home builder you have the privilege to design ceiling slopes, children closet or hideaways – special use areas like dog rooms or cafe booths in the kitchen!
7 – Utilize the Natural Light – Spend time thinking about the space and the light! This is awesome the unsung beauty of most homes! Where does the morning sun shine, is there a special reading corner, plant nook or dressing area where the natural light blesses the activities which you love.
6 – Everything affects everything – Make sure you have the most valuable points of interest incorporated early! Barry and Holly wanted the porch with a swing. Which required the porch to be wider than typical. Of course, this will affect the porch slant, the windows on the second level and architectural design features. Be reluctant to make changes after the architectural design as everything affects everything! This is the Number One – Buyer Beware!
7 – Put off what you can put off – Don’t get it all done at once! First you can’t afford to and the list never stops! Most importantly you haven’t “lived” the house! Things you don’t see yet will be things you love! Let your house, you, and your pocket book breathe. Enjoy the space you have created and some things which were so important before drop off the list – aren’t you glad you didn’t invest before “Letting the House Live”! Be a good steward with your home funds – it is about living not having – so enjoy each step of the process!
8 – GET A REALTOR – IT SOUNDS SILLY I KNOW. Realtors are no longer one size fits all! Realtor commission is negotiable and there will be a REALTOR that understands you and your mission. Realtors can help you protect your investment. You don’t want the silly house on the corner that doesn’t meet the standards of today’s market place! You may have to sell someday – life changes – even when we don’t want to! Realtors can advise on finishes, appliances, lifestyles – not in place of your priorities but to enhance your priorities into a marketable and functional home. Enlisting a third party for an overall small percentage of the project, allow you to have an advocate. The advocate can neutralize difficulties between you and your builder and put your mind at ease, when delays are irreversible! Otherwise, you may end up at odds with the process and ultimately your builder! You want to know you are receiving everything you have paid for, however, frustration with a million decisions and many re-decisions requires a third party, a calming influence, an unattached, non-emotional perspective to help you through this process. For instance, when having a baby, we have a doctor! It’s sometimes a painful experience but when it is all over, the joys and blessings far surpass the year(s) of dedication! You can do it with a great builder, great Realtor, lots of forethought and the ability to keep your mind and heart on the end result – it’s not about having – it’s about living! Build a LIfestyle!
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