Building a house can be very stressful from the beginning to the end because you will have unexpected experiences whether it be new codes, delayed deliveries or unexpected costs. My husband wass our general contractor and has dealt with every situation that we have had during our building experience. We have heard some horror stories from others (contractors, materials, etc.) and while we have had some problems I will admit that majority of this process has gone pretty smooth so far. Below I shared some things that I have learned during the building process that I think are very important and that I wish I would have known from the start.
- Be patient. I know this is easier said than done but it is important. If you aren’t patient you will lose your mind! You will still need to pay attention to what is going on at the construction site and make sure things are on schedule however you need to realize that your house will not be finished overnight.
- Be realistic. A good sturdy house will take time to build especially if you are building a custom home. So know your time frame and have goals but don’t expect too much out of your contractors.
- Don’t let building consume your life. You will be very busy keeping up with the building process (financially, keeping on schedule, paying your contractors and making phone calls daily) however you can’t let it consume your life. Take a break and enjoy time with family and friends or you will get burnt out and the stress will be intensified.
- Don’t stress over the small stuff and expect things to go wrong (they will) fix it and move on. LIke I stated, things will go wrong (hopefully not a lot of things) therefore be ready to fix it and move on.
- Stay organized. Keep up with your material and labor costs, receipts, prints, estimates, etc. These are important for many reasons (your bank, your budget, your sanity).
- Don’t hire a general contractor (especially if you are or have a manager) you will be wasting your money! If you have a manager they will actually manage the process for you leaving you the general contractor (you will only need to sign checks) We didn’t hire either and it was A LOT to take on!
- Stick to your budget! Stay within the price ranges that you started with originally (this will help you stay on budget). For example, if you have a light for $200.00 in your original budget then stay at or below that price. Also, know that the price for materials will sometimes increase depending on supply and demand and the season so expect an increase!
- Make sure you have enough windows! I love sunlight so I made sure that every room had at least one window (with bedrooms having two each). This is something you want to get right the first time so look at your floor plan and imagine walking through your house. Which rooms need windows? Are there enough? Too much? Also know the direction that your house sits (you don’t want the evening sun blasting you in your kitchen while you’re preparing dinner)
- Make sure you have enough lights and outlets! Because no one likes a dark house and outlets should be readily available (especially with all of today’s technology that need to be plugged in or charged) While deciding where your outlets need to be imagine using them (plugging in vacuums, televisions, computers, lamps, nightlights and such).
- Shop around for your foundation guy/gal, framer, mason, electrician, plumber, HVAC guy/gal and insulator and receive plenty of estimates (estimates are usually free)! The framer that we chose was actually the fourth framer that we talked to. Ask your family, friends and coworkers who they have used and about their experiences.
- Shop around for materials (this includes looking online, shopping at local stores and even traveling out of town)
- Save money by doing things yourself! Whether you are a handyman/woman or not, majority of the population can pick up a paintbrush or roller and are able to use it (especially with a new house that doesn’t have trim up yet), by painting yourself you will save oodles of money. We actually chose to finish our house ourselves and it was a bit too much! We hung insulation on the interior walls (for sound), laid all the tile (we have a lot), primed and painted the whole house, hung all the doors, cut and installed the window and door trim, cut and installed the baseboards, installed surround sound, built the living room built-ins, the hall nook and the bathroom built-ins. I personally don’t recommend taking on that much 😉
- Invest in spray foam insulation! Spray foam insulation is a new type of insulation that compacts itself between your studs to prevent any air from entering or leaving your home. It will save you money on heating and air and may even help keep noise in or outside of your home.
- Don’t just look at samples. Find samples that you may like and look at pictures, (online or in brochures) you need to see the whole picture. While you may love the way a sample of hardwood, stone or siding look it may look completely different when you have a lot of it together!
Good luck during the building process and know that if I can get through it then so can you 🙂