Five things I wish I would have known before building my home.

Building home for the first time is an exhilarating process. It can also be very trying. Avoid some of the unexpected headaches by understanding a few important things beforehand.

1.    Understand the difference between standard options and upgrades.
Builders incorporate standard options in their home plans for sinks, fixtures and features like counters. Ask your builder for a listing of the features included in the building of your home. Have a conversation about the cost of upgrading items like your windows. Manufacturers have a wide range of products, from contract grade to premium and having an understanding of what they cost will help you avoid surprises to your bottom line and disappointment in your finished home.

2.    Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Even the best-laid plans can go awry. Unexpected events can delay the building schedule of your home and last minute changes can alter square footage and shapes of rooms. While it may be exciting to go ahead and pick out tile for your bathroom the moment the foundation is poured, it may not be wisest. Stores often change their selections and that tile may not be available by the time your ready for installation. If you go ahead and make the purchase of an item, changes to your plans may leave you needing more product than you initially purchased.  The best approach is to communicate with your builder and make purchases at the appropriate time.

3.    Do you really understand your floor plan?
Don’t assume that you understand what’s happening. Take the time to really review your floor plan. Understand the dimensions of your rooms so that once the home is complete you aren’t left disappointed. Rooms that sound big on paper may leave you underwhelmed once you move in all of your furniture. Talk to your builder and make sure space is used wisely. Get him or her to really walk through your building plans. It’s much easier to make changes before the home is built.

4.    Not all builders have your best interests in mind.
This is not to say that your builder is going to take advantage of you, but it is important to remember that they are trying to run a business. What may make the most sense for their bottom line may not be what you want in your home. Builders are a wealth of information and often have good advice, but ask them questions when they make suggestions. You may find that their reason for directing your attention to one particular product has more to do with easier installation than quality of material.

5.    Document everything.
Changes will be made during the process and decisions will have to be made mid-project. Don’t leave these things to memory. Make sure you keep a record of any changes or agreements you make with your builder. Especially when changes to cost are involved. An easy way to make sure changes and alterations are documented is to write up a summary after any meetings or conversations and emailing that to your builder. This will give them an opportunity to make sure they understand the exchange properly while also giving you a record of what was agreed upon.

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