7 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Home

Building a new home is both exciting and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. There’s so much to do, so many things could go wrong. You will need to decide on the lot. Figure out the style, exterior, and interior finishes, and the number of rooms in your new home.

Then, there’s the tiny detail of hiring a builder that will help bring your dream home to life. Hopefully, at this point, you already have an idea of the customizations you want to make on your home.

It’s no wonder most homeowners prefer already-built homes than building one themselves. But, that’s not you, you love the thrill of watching as your dream home takes shape.

The problem with building a new home by yourself is that you are bound to make a lot of mistakes.

Let’s not even get started on the hassle of dealing with contractors. The bureaucratic bottleneck involved in obtaining building permissions. And, of course, the nail-biting wait.

So, if you are planning to build a new home, here are seven mistakes to avoid.

No long-term planning

Building a new home is a chance for most homeowners to live in their dream homes finally. But due to the excitement of the moment, they may fail to take into account any future needs.

It is quite normal for homeowners to think they would live in their custom-built home until old age. Only to realize after a while that they would love to sell the house sometime or move to some other neighborhood.

Here’s where planning for the long-term comes in. You can anticipate possible lifestyle changes and needs of every person living in the house and then work it into your new home plan. This way, your house grows with you.

Also, you will have to decide early on whether you are going to sell the house at some point or leave the property in the family.

Your decision should influence the choice of styling and interiors and neighborhood you build in as you would want to maximize your house’s value when it’s time to sell.

No wriggle room in your budget

In a perfect world, projects are supposed to get delivered on time and budget. Unfortunately, ours is an imperfect world where delays happen, where unforeseen events overtake us – a worker calls in sick, inclement weather forces workers to stop work and an unexpected change in the price of supplies pushes the cost of building above budget.

When setting a budget for your building project, consider adding a buffer to the total amount required – this way, you have enough extra cash to handle whatever life throws at you.

The general rule of thumb is to set aside a 10% of the total budget as your “just in case” fund.

Jumping on the lowest quote you get

Granted, you want to save money and to spend as little money as possible to build your new home.

The whole point of asking for quotes from different builders and contractors is to gain a fair idea of the going rates- it doesn’t mean accepting the lowest quote you get.

Remember you get what you paid for – hiring a cheap contractor could mean, having to live in a home built with sub-standard materials.

That’s not to say, some contractors with low quotes are not good. You may want to ask about their processes and how they source materials. Perhaps, they have exclusive deals with manufacturers which enable them to lower their cost without affecting the overall quality of the material they use.

Poor lot selection

Location is probably the most important factor that would affect the value of the property. And, it would certainly play a role in whether you and your family enjoy your new home.

You may want to consider how close the lot is to conveniences. Do you have to drive for miles to stock up on essential groceries? How about the proximity to your child’s school? Are there any decent place nearby you can eat out?

Before buying a lot for your home, spend some time in the neighborhood to get a feel of what life is like there.

Changing your mind during construction

Sure, it’s a custom-built home. You can tweak and make changes all you want. But that should be in the planning phase when it is a lot easier to accommodate whatever new additions you may have dreamed up.

But, once the project moves to the construction phase, it’s time to rein in your creative ideas and allow builders to get to work.

Easier said than done, right? You see, you can run up the cost of building pretty quickly if you are always making adjustments to the plan, not to mention the extra days or even weeks to initial schedule.

Not signing a contract

Building a new home has its legal requirements which if ignored could cause you problems down the line. You may want to have a contract drawn with deliverable dates and costs specified, define expectations, and what would happen if anything goes wrong.

Be sure to have a written agreement with both parties signing – no handshake agreements. This way, you have something to fall back on if anything goes wrong.

You shouldn’t expect much pushbacks for this since most contractors are open to signing an agreement before commencing work.

Not getting all the permits before construction

Your custom home requires several types of licences before construction can begin. Otherwise, failure to obtain these permits could mean paying stiff penalties and delayed project.

While it is part of your builder’s job description to take care of all license and permit applications, HOA approvals and inspections, you may want to make sure they are experienced and knowledgeable to make the permitting process smooth.

Also, be sure you and your builder file the permit application early. If possible, apply for permits well in advance of your planned construction start date. Keep in mind, though, it could longer than expected to get all the paperwork approved.