One of the most significant projects you will ever undertake is home construction. It can be exhausting both emotionally and physically. I know this firsthand, and I’m here to help you out by giving my 8 CRUCIAL suggestions for your first-time home build below.
1. PICK OUT AS MANY FINISHES AS POSSIBLE BEFORE BREAKING GROUND.
Choosing to finish (such as home exterior materials or flooring) early on will help keep your construction project on schedule and track. Some finishes may be out of stock or take a long time to arrive. Other finishes may be unavailable, allowing you to go back to the drawing board and make a different choice.
When you select goods ahead of time, they will be in your builder’s hands as soon as the subcontractors are ready to install them. When your subcontractors arrive to work on your home, you want everything ready to go. You may have to wait a long time if they are working on another job.
2. BE READY TO OVERSPEND YOUR BUDGET (IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A LOT)
‘YOU’LL GO OVER BUDGET,’ everyone says, and I agree to some extent. BUT, since I was very explicit with my builder about the quality of finishes I wanted BEFORE he priced our new home, I could keep very close to budget.
Here’s a bombshell. Because your allowances (for example, appliances) will be unreasonably minimal, staying on a budget will be nearly impossible. RIDICULOUSLY LOW, I mean. I don’t recall precise figures, but our appliance stipend covered one or two appliances. We went over budget in this department.
Remember that you will not go over budget if you are completely honest and transparent with the builder about EXACTLY what you want BEFORE they price the house. It would help if you simply were extremely specific about the amount of finish you desire (e.g. custom trim work throughout the home).
People who state they were “50% over budget” probably had a lot of change orders and ‘upgraded’ their house WHILE it was being built (as opposed to knowing how nice of a home they wanted before they started).
3. IF YOUR BUDGET IS LIMITED, FOLLOW YOUR TOP PRIORITY.
If you’re working with a limited budget, concentrate on the features of your future home that are essential to you. Focus your spending on finishing rather than square footage if you’re more interested in fancy custom touches in your home (e.g. window seats, crown moulding, high-end appliances, bespoke cabinets, etc.).
If you have a large family and require more space, prioritise the size of the home over the degree of finishing in your budget. Choose stock cabinets, laminate counters, low-cost flooring, and low-end appliances, among other things. You can always upgrade the finishing in the future, but adding square footage after your project is far more complex and expensive.
4. CHECK ALL INVOICES TWICE… EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE LOAN WITH YOU
Check your invoices twice, even if your builder carries the building loan! I’ll tell it again.
Because many builders take on the construction debt, homeowners are less likely to scrutinise invoices and make payments. Make sure to involve yourself in this process if this describes your scenario.
Because we had our construction finance, we had to approve all invoice payments. Before signing off on any draws, my spouse double-checked all invoices. He didn’t uncover many mistakes, but there were a few that our builder may have overlooked.
5. INCLUDE ROOM (LOTS OF ROOM!) FOR WINDOW TREATMENTS IN YOUR BUDGET.
Even basic window coverings might be prohibitively expensive when it comes to covering an entire home of windows.
People budget for new furniture and decorations after they move in, but privacy through window shades is also crucial to consider!
6. ATTEND INSTALLATIONS ON-SITE
It was a hard lesson for me to learn. My electrician hung my kitchen table lamp where HE believed it should go, not where the future table would be. I had him reposition it, but the adjustment left a scar on my ceiling. The patches and re-paint on the top are still visible.
If you aren’t on-site, electricians and subcontractors will make decisions for you! You do not want them to make decisions on your behalf. TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! You should be present at all installations to answer queries.
7. HIRING A DESIGNER TO ASSIST WITH DECISION-MAKING IS AN OPTION.
There will be many choices. Decisions you didn’t even realise you had (for me, this was choosing my grout colour and my doorbell).
You CAN engage an interior designer to assist you with decision-making, significantly reducing your stress and overwhelm. Working with a local designer who can be on-site and is familiar with local building codes is ideal.
8. DON’T OVERLOOK IMPERFECTIONS DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF YOUR HOME
If you’re a perfectionist and detail-oriented person like myself, you’ll be concerned about all the flaws in your project. But there’s no need! Once you’ve moved your stuff in, you’ll forget about these flaws (and they won’t be as noticeable).
If you’re looking for contractors in London to help build your building, you’ve come to the right place.