Most of us have the dream of one day owning our very own home – one that we’ve designed; where everything is planned and built to our specifications (just the way we like it!). Making that dream home a reality is an exciting prospect where perfection no doubt rests at the forefront of our expectations. Choosing the right builder will prove vital in ensuring that your residential desires are met with hassle-free execution. This article’s purpose is to provide the right knowledge and understanding necessary in building your first home and picking a home builder with confidence!
Legal advice is advised
Before signing anything, talk to a real-estate lawyer (preferably one who has a solid reputation in new homes and home building) and ask questions. Chances are, if you are building a home for the first time, there will be unknowns and grey areas which you may not fully understand. It’s better to ask stupid questions than to not ask them at all. Be sure to get your head around your rights as well as your liabilities and commitments. Most of all remember that engaging a lawyer in your home building matters may seem like an expense you can afford to bypass, but the cost is very little compared to legal disputes and over-looked commitments and complications which may arise during the home building process. The risk outweighs the savings.
Research builder reputations
Get the goss on the home builders you are considering! Most building companies will obviously sound really great, their sales reps will use all the right words, the website will show vibrant pictures and display a bunch of great testimonials, and the houses they have built probably do look pretty good from the street. But the only way to get the truth is to find out what people are saying about them (in an open non-biased environment). Use search engines to search for reviews and home buyers’ opinions and advice on home building companies. Talk to neighbours, relatives, even your lawyer – they may be able to research any law suits filed against particular companies.
Also, check their licenses and ask for credentials. You want to be 100% sure they are legally allowed provide construction services and provide them in a professional manner. Look for builders who are part of building associations and organisations.
Planning and design
It is important to be thorough and not rush when planning the style and layout of your new home. First time home builders tend to be excited and potentially overlook the finer details. To make educated decisions on the features of your new home, it can be worthwhile attending open house days and builder display homes. This way you can make notes on the features that particularly align with your tastes. You may even notice thing you’d never originally thought of.
Consider steel frame houses. Steel frame can be great as it obviously offers protection from termite damage, insurance is generally lower and steel frame houses are able resist extreme forces of nature such as hurricanes, cyclones and earth quakes. The disadvantages of steel frame are that some builders are not familiar with it, special tools are required meaning costs may be higher and it can cause heat to be lost from the home making it less energy efficient.
Where should I start looking for a home builders?
Friends and family are always a good place to start as you can rely on them for honest information. The Internet is also a great place to start looking as there are many sites that list reputable home builders but be sure to do your homework on any companies you are considering!
Surviving the building process
So you put time and careful planning into your design, you engaged a lawyer to minimise your risk and you’ve signed on the dotted line with a reputable and professional building company? It is time for the builders to start doing what they do best… (building!) Now of course the designs you chose have been taken into consideration when the builders provided you with a base quote and chances are they will be able to build the house right on budget! Great success. However, it is nearly inevitable that you would like modifications and adjustments to the original plan as you see the project progressing (yes it is recommended that you regularly check in with the builder throughout the entire process to make sure everything is spot on). Any modifications will more than likely come at extra cost and it is important to keep record of all additional expenses (which are normal when building a home) to ensure there are no nasty surprises at the end of construction. Budgeting for ‘x’ amount of modifications is always a great idea before initiating construction. Remember to not be shy when asking for modifications – it will be your home, so make sure it’s perfect!
Make sure you ask your builder for a time frame to help you prepare for moving and the financial outlay at the end of the process. However, always expect delays and factor that into your preparations! Weather, material supplies, errors and modifications all play a part in the time the builder will spend during the construction phase. Not much you can do here but be patient – it’s just the nature of the beast.