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Building Your First Home? 4 Things You Need to Know

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.17.47 AM
Image Source: Flickr

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a veteran home buyer, the opportunity to build a home for the first time can be as daunting as it is exciting. Familiarize yourself with these four aspects of the building process so that you don’t find yourself in over your head.

1. Budget

Look at your finances realistically when you begin building your home. You can, and should, finance your home, but you need to know what you can afford. Figure out an estimated cost breakdown, which will factor in the cost of each aspect of your home. You can work on it yourself or with a builder. A complete estimate will factor in these elements:

  • the foundation
  • needed lumber and framing
  • plumbing
  • heating
  • electrical systems
  • painting
  • the builder’s profit

A comprehensive estimate will incorporate bids from individual, reputable contractors. If haven’t found a builder yet or are overseeing construction yourself, you will need to conduct the estimated cost breakdown. Get estimates from each involved contractor. Get the estimates in writings so that when the time comes to build you don’t end up going over-budget due to a skewed estimate. If you are working with a builder, go over the estimated cost breakdown with them.

2. Builder

The right home builder will do more than just construct your new home: they will guide you through difficult building choices and provide a full warranty for your home. Decide whether you would like to hire an architect to design your home or go with a builder who offers pre-engineered floor plans.

Choose your building partner carefully. Learn about the reputation of the company. Speak to previous clients, visit finished homes, and view a gallery of previous projects. Look the company up online and read reviews of its quality of work and work ethic.

Does your builder employ their own contractors for their projects or do they outsource to independent workers? If the builder outsources, you should also look at the reputation of the independent contractors. Conducting thorough research before your project begins can protect you from future issues.

3. Materials

You will likely have the opportunity to choose between several different kinds of siding, flooring, tiling, or other materials. While aesthetics are important, be sure to consider functionality and durability as well.

Do some research before you make your decision. Read up on specific materials like carpet and kitchen countertops. Consult with your building company; they will be able to give you an idea of what other homeowners have tried and recommend materials that will perform well over time.

4. Customizations

Building your own home allows you to choose features that best matches your family’s needs. Depending on your builder, you might have the option to include a wide range of modifications to the original floor plan. Some builders, however, limit you to minor modifications. In either case, it is important that you evaluate which customizations are most important to you.

Have a family meeting to make a list of the features each family member cares about most. Consider how important the customizations will be over the life of the home. For example, you may be taken with the idea of rounding all the interior corners so younger children can avoid bumping into sharp edges, but is it worth the cost of the upgrade? If you can easily use removable corner guards, it may not be worth the money. However, if you have a disabled child or will have young children for a long time, rounding the corners may be an important precaution.

Building a home is an exciting investment, both personally and financially. Just be sure to consider these four aspects when you’re building to ensure that your new home is everything you dreamed it could be.

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