I’ve already talked about planning your dream home, now let’s talk about having it built! It’s very likely that you’ll spend more on a home than anything else you’ll ever purchase, and it’s worth it. It is the American Dream. It’s exciting, and I want to help you have the best experience possible! Through the years I’ve built several homes and sold dozens and dozens of homes before they were built. The number one recommendation I give is to have realistic expectations. This is vital. Proper expectations prepare you to effectively manage your home building experience, and you’ll be a much happier new home buyer! Here are the best tips I can give for expecting the unexpected:
#1. It won’t be perfect! I’m not being negative, just realistic! Homes are one of the few things we purchase that are built outdoors in the elements, with human hands. Some days conditions aren’t ideal, other days the workers might not be at their best, materials can even have an attitude. You can expect great quality, but you should also expect that some things that will require a second or third attempt before they’re acceptable.
#2. The process.... what can I say? At certain stages it’s very messy, dirty, dusty, noisy, rainy, sloppy, and unsafe and you may not understand why! Some of this is just part of the process, some of it is not, but you can expect some of these issues - along with my biggest frustration, the days when nobody is working. Sometimes it’s because they’re waiting on inspections or materials, but there are days when (for no known reason) the subcontractors don’t show up leaving you feeling neglected. Expect these things, expect to be frustrated, and grin and bear it! It’s going to happen!
#3. Cost overruns. Before you sign your contract make sure you clearly understand what is included and what’s not. You may be expecting hardwood because the model home has it, but hardwood may not be included in the base price of the one you’re buying. It’s also common for buyers to upgrade their decor selections. As you should expect, upgrades cost more, so make sure you have all the details of what’s included, what’s not, and how much the upgrades cost!
#4. Changes or additions. It’s very normal for good ideas that require major changes to pop up after construction has begun. Some builders are willing to make changes during construction, while others don’t allow it, so make sure you know what your contractor allows before you begin!
#5. Communication. This is where the elephant enters the room! I’m not sure why, but as soon as construction begins, good communication between the builder and the buyer often breaks down. There are probably thousands of reasons why, so I’m not going down that path, but I want you to be aware and prepare to do all you can to avoid this problem. Establish with whom, how and when you’ll communicate. I recommend email because it is in writing. And keep it professional. There will be days when you’re frustrated, but when it’s all done you want a healthy relationship with your builder, and they should want the same with you.
I hope these insights are a benefit to you. The only other recommendation I can give for a successful new construction project is to allow a realtor to help you. If you don’t have an agent with new home building experience give me a call at 615-394-1823 or send me a message, and I’ll be glad to guide you through the process!
Verlyn Steward, Real Estate Answerman