Are you building a new home? I’m sharing 10 tips for building a new home to make the process go more smoothly, and more enjoyable!
Home building has been part of my life since I was a child. My parents have owned a construction company and been part of developments since as long as I can remember.
A lot of childhood memories are of us visiting job sites, purchasing items for the homes they were building, checking jobs in Dad’s truck and spending time at their office.
Home building can be very stressful, but it can also be a lot of fun. We are currently building our forever home. The home we hope our kids will come home to with their families, the home we’ll retire in, the home our children will recall as their childhood home.
We’ve built before, and we’ve lived in a lot of different homes, which means we have had a lot of layouts and designs that we’ve gotten to physically live in to know if we like it or not.
This also means we’ve learned a lot. This is the third home we’ve had built for us and so I think we have some great tips to share!
1. Your attitude is important.
The first thing people are going to say when you tell them you are building is, “Oh that’s so stressful!” Truth be told, it is stressful. There are a ton of decisions to be made… but try to have a positive outlook on the situation. Your attitude can make or break the entire experience.
If you are constantly telling yourself it’s stressful, it will feel stressful. If you tell yourself it’s an enjoyable experience, you are more likely to find the joy in the process… and stress will be part of the process, but it doesn’t have to be miserable.
2. Research and ask for builder recommendations.
We have been fortunate because my Dad has built two of our homes, but we have built with another builder so I have a comparison. My Dad builds a completely custom home, from the plans to every little detail. One of the other homes we built was not as custom. We got to pick our finishes but we didn’t have choice for the layout or structure of the home. The builder has several floor plans to choose from and we had chosen a home that the foundation was poured already so we didn’t choose the floor plan.
My vote? Though a completely custom home is more time consuming, it’s 100% worth it if you are wanting to live there long term. With a totally custom home you are able to do things that best fit your family and your living style.
This also might not be your best answer, and that’s ok! Like I said, I grew up doing this so it’s fun and exciting for me, but I recognize that it’s not for everyone. There is a lot more to do when building custom than building a home that has been built several times before.
When looking for a builder here are a few things to consider:
- Ask to visit some homes that they have built so you can look at their finished work.
- Talk to people in your community about their experience with different builders… this is really important! People love to share their experiences so be willing to receive their feedback!
- Call the City and ask if they have builder recommendations for companies that are reputable in the community.
- A pretty home is wonderful, but make sure it has a solid foundation. Meaning don’t let the idea of a home “looking pretty” undermine the other things you need to ask about a builder. Ask about the things you can’t see with the eye such as the structure, foundation, et.
I can’t stress this enough…. having a quality builder can make or break your experience, so choose this wisely!
3. Study your floor plan
Look at it over and over and over again. And again. Get out a tape measure and get a feel for the dimensions.
Visit homes with similar floor plans and see what you like and what you don’t like about them. We studied our floor plan for a few months to be honest, and there are still things that I think could’ve been tweaked a bit. It will never be perfect, but spend time doing this. You will be living in this home you are looking at on a piece of paper someday!
Look at other floor plans online, discuss any concerns with your builder and/or architect and be willing to listen to their suggestions. They do this for a living and they’ve likely worked in many homes so they have experience with different things.
4. Don’t procrastinate
This is one of the most important tips I can give you. Do not make your builder wait on you… make your big decisions early on so when the builder is ready for your decision, it’s already been made.
Request a list from your builder for a timeline when decisions need to be made, and plan accordingly.
We visited all of our design places more than once also, so be prepared to spend some time making these important decisions. We had the majority of our decision choices figured out prior to our house being framed so things could move along smoothly.
Included in this are: lighting, flooring, trim work, cabinetry, countertops, doors, plumbing, appliances, etc.
5. Do your research
Don’t know if you want granite, quartz or marble? Research it.
Don’t know if you want pre-engineered or traditional hardwood floors? Research it.
Everyone has different opinions, no one opinion is right or wrong, but we all will make different choices based on our preferences and how we plan to utilize a space. Be willing to research some of your options to be sure it best fits what you want to maintain and live with for a long time!
6. Know your non-negotiables prior to starting
For some it’s a floor plan. For some it’s windows, or a double oven, or a 3 car garage. Might sound silly, for me, it was a custom hood in my kitchen. And a white house. I wanted those two things badly… and I had to do a bit of fighting for the white house!
Make a list of things are that you really want to make sure to do, and plan accordingly. For instance some of these non-negotiable items may cost more money, so think about where you can cut back in another area to afford the parts you really want.
It’s also important to discuss this with your spouse or partner so you can be on the same page when making these important decisions and allow them to voice things they want as well.
7. Know your budget and stick to it
Money is a touchy subject but you will be so thankful if you know exactly what you can afford prior to starting, and know what you can spend towards your home.
My husband is a Director of Finance, and while his budgeting feels extensive at times, I have to admit, I’m so thankful he knows exactly what we can and cannot afford based not only on the money in our bank account, but our goals for the future as well.
If there is an area you can cut back on so you can afford something you really want to do, do it. You don’t want to get to the end of the process and end up with a house payment you can’t afford. Your due diligence to adhering to a budget will be something your future self will thank you for!
8. Be patient
Building a home takes a lot of time, and a lot of patience. There will be issues that arise, the process will likely not be seamless… but remain patient. If you trust your builder and the people working on your home (and you should because you did your research right?) know that they are doing their best and everything will get done.
Also, if you have concerns be respectful and discuss them with your builder. Having an open line of communication is important.
The process will seem like it’s lasting forever some days, but continue practicing patience and know that before you know it, you’ll be living in the home you helped create and it will be amazing and well worth the time spent.
9. Do what’s best for you, not for someone else
The blogger you follow on Pinterest may have a beautiful home that you love to look at… but do you want to LIVE IN IT? Think long and hard about how you want your house to function and design it accordingly.
We all have different styles and needs, and while some people have beautiful homes that work wonderfully for them, it might not be the best fit for you… and that is ok!
Build your house to live in, not just look at.
A home is a home to LIVE in. To make memories in. To grow together. Make it a reflection of yourself and the people you live with.
10. Document the building process
Keep notes, take pictures, don’t forget to take videos, too. The process seems long, but when you look back at the pictures and videos you have documented, you’ll see it transform so quickly!
I also love documenting the process because you make so many important decisions along the way that it’s easy to forget why you made some of the decisions you did. Use the notes section on your phone, keep a journal or scrapbook it!
Building a home is a process I really enjoy. Knowing we are putting the finishing touches on our forever home makes me feel so happy for the experience we have had and thankfulness for the homes we’ve lived in before. Each and every home is part of our story.
It’s where we find comfort and where so many memories are made.
If you are building a home I hope you find these tips helpful but most importantly, enjoy the process! It’s one you may only do once so it’s worth making the most of!