You’ve got your dream home planned out – from the bedroom drapes to the bathroom tiles, and the placement of your favorite furniture. Mentally, you have already moved in. So – what could go wrong with building your perfect house?
Unsurprisingly, the answer is “a lot”. Building your custom home is a challenging process, with plenty of pitfalls along the way. Here are five of the worst – and how to avoid them.
1 – Compromising on Location
The lot you choose for constructing your home is critical. In most cases, location is weighed against price. And it may be tempting to compromise to tip the scales in favor of a larger property.
A 20,000 square-foot garden can soon lose its appeal if it means you have to drive an hour to access basic amenities from stores to medical facilities.
When choosing lots for your dream home, cast your fundamental requirements in stone. Don’t compromise on location.
2 – Flawed Floor Plans
Your floor plan is the basic determining element of how space-efficient and comfortable your home will be. Yet, many aspects of it are often skimmed over.
Are your bedrooms and your home office far enough away from noisy areas like the kitchen? Do you have enough storage space? How much will that skylight you want cost you in maintenance, heating, and cooling in the future?
There are millions of things you need to keep in mind when drawing up a floor plan. Make sure to take the time, and discuss it with your family, architect, and builder.
3 – Neglecting Lighting
Most new homeowners carefully consider the placement of ceiling spotlights, floor lights, and the design of lamps. Natural light tends to be neglected in the planning process.
Never underestimate the power of natural sunlight!
Do you want early morning light slanting into your bedroom to wake you up? Feel warm rays on your skin while working in your home office in the early afternoon? Have sunset dinners on the patio?
If the answer is yes, keep in mind the sun’s position throughout the day – and the seasons – when deciding on the orientation and layout of your new home.
4 – Pouncing on the Lowest Quote
Looking for the right builder for your home is an arduous process. Reaching out to companies and comparing quotes is daunting, no doubts there. Jumping at the lowest offer (or the first in your price range) has definite appeal.
It can also be a costly mistake.
Quotes can be written in different ways, making them hard to compare. Some builders use square foot pricing for their bids, others assembly or unit pricing. Some include buffers for unforeseen expenses, others don’t.
To find the right offer, spend time on learning to properly compare bids. Cast a wide net on the search for the right builder – ask for recommendations from friends and family, check online reviews, and scour directories and best-of listings like Home Builders Digest.
5 – Not Having a Contingency Budget
The projected cost of your dream home narrowly matches your budget. Phew!
Unfortunately, this isn’t actually cause for a sigh of relief.
No matter how big or small your building project, there always are unforeseen costs and delays. The price of materials changes, accidents can happen, technical solutions turn out to be unfeasible.
To be on the safe side, reserve 5-10% of the overall funds for a contingency budget. This will help you adapt quickly and without financial despair in case of unpleasant surprises.