(Images Lily Pad Cottage)
We’re past the finish line and have been in our new home for 2 weeks. I’ve had a bit of time to contemplate and weigh the pros and cons of building and thought I’d share advice from both of the home builds we’ve been through.
When we decided that our first house wouldn’t be our forever home, I started a Pinterest board and have always pinned things that I loved. Everything from floor plans to light fixtures, I added it to our “new home” board. (Houzz is basically the same, but only house pins. Very helpful as well!) This helped me keep track of what I’ve loved for years vs. what was a fad and no longer represented what I wanted. This was ENORMOUSLY helpful when the decision making started coming fast and furious. I’d just review my Pinterest boards and have pictures to show our builder so they could emulate it in our new home. It also helped when I didn’t know the technical term for what I wanted- I could just show them a picture and they immediately knew what I was talking about.
Read Your Contract
The main issue we had early on was that there was some confusion about what was involved if we purchased the lot and carried the construction loan, vs. if our builder did. They didn’t communicate well which caused a huge issue, but at the end of the day, it was in our contract and that was my responsibility to read it thoroughly. In the end, they were incredibly accommodating and we had no issues. That brings me to my next point…
Research Your Builder
A lot. It’s inevitable that you will have some sort of snafu while building, so you have to trust that your builder has your best interests in mind and will have your back. You don’t want them switching out quality materials for cheaper ones, skimping on safety, or hiring less than reputable sub-contractors. Our builder is known for their integrity and honesty, and we could see that going through the process. They used superior materials, so we didn’t need to research what type of insulation to use, or what siding would be best. They’d already done that and we trusted them to know how to build a house. I just picked the specifics when it came to colors, decor, paint, etc.
Plan On Overages
Things happen. ALWAYS plan on 5% minimum over. Additionally, that depends on the quality of materials your builder uses. So if you want something outside of the standard builder grade- you’ll need to pay more. Allowances rarely cover what you want, so plan on paying extra for almost everything. Our builder’s base level of quality was already higher than most, so we always knew we were getting quality materials. Even then, we still went over.
Ian’s contribution to this post: 😉
- Be present
- Be active
- Be picky
- Be friendly
This basically means be there all the time, know what’s going on, stick to your guns on what you want even if you get pushback, and be nice! I can accomplish anything with being nice. I lose my niceness a bit when people screw up and then try to blame it on me. That doesn’t go over well. 😉
Haha, Ian was insanely busy with work, so I was the one that made every house choice and went to every appointment. Needless to say, it was stressful and took a LOT of time out of my day to check things, approve selections, etc. That brings me to my last point:
It’s your house, you’re spending a lot of money to get it the way you like it and that just makes you really invested emotionally. Plan and prepare for that. I hadn’t quite prepared to do it alone, so it was harder than I planned for. Ian was a great support system and did the best he could when he got home at night. On the opposite, realize it’s just a house, and remind yourself to count your blessings in case something isn’t 100% correct. Fix want you need to, but don’t lose it if something minor happens. At the end of the day, it’s just a house. As long as my family is with me and healthy, at the end of the day, that will always take priority. I kept that top of mind throughout the entire process and that helped me stay grounded when I felt like I was getting overwhelmed.
This entire process has been a blessing, and we don’t regret it at all. I’ll be sharing each room as we go through the house with links to everything and where I got them. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below or send me an email via the contact form on the blog!