10 tips for New Home Construction

Building a home from start to finish can be a deeply fulfilling experience. It offers you the opportunity to design and build with your future in mind. With such an undertaking you can be sure that there will be some inevitable stress and things will most likely take longer than expected. Although there will be ups and downs, building a new home can be enjoyable with a keen awareness and proper planning. With these ten tips you can reduce stress and encourage enjoyment with your new home construction process.

1. Make a plan The most important aspect of your construction process will be planning. Develop a program that details which direction your home will face on the lot, floorplan, flow of your rooms and any additional features like tile showers or built-ins. Working with Pinterest and other design idea platforms can help you keep track of ideas that inspire you and are a great reference when working with contractors. 2. Budget more than expected Regardless of how much you estimate your project to cost, more than likely there's going to be additional costs. Builders often do not include costs like gas and electrical meters, cable and internet hookups, landscaping, decking and letterboxes. These finishing costs can potentially run you anywhere from 15-25% over budget. Not to mention, site costs such as zoning and planning application fees. Even if you check all of these things off of your list you will need to budget for unforeseen circumstances. For example, you may want the option of changing your mind in case any of your fittings or materials don't meet your expectations. 3. Find the right builder This is one of the most important decisions to make with new home construction. Keep in mind, that you will be working with this person for approximately 8-12 months depending on the nature of your build. There are several factors to consider when choosing a builder:

  • Credentials Check to see if your builder is licensed and insured. You will also want them to be a member of the local homebuilders association.

  • References Ask for references of the builders past work. Read online reviews and look to see if they offer a warranty.

  • Character Since you will be spending quite some time working with your builder, you will want to determine if you enjoy working with them or not. If a builder doesn't have good communication with you, it's likely they don't have good communication with other contractors.

4. Understand your Contract Take time to read through the contract with your builder so that you fully understand the terms. Get clear on what the construction costs cover and don't cover. Pay attention to the payment schedule, warranty and insurance information. Make sure the timeframe works well with your schedule and needs as well. It's always a good idea to have a lawyer review your contract before signing. 5. Explore Credits or Rebates for your Build If your planning to build your first home or a green built structure, you may be entitled to credits, rebates or waivers for your build. Check in with your local building associations or lender to learn more. 6. Line up your Financing You'll most likely need a construction home loan to fund your project. Construction home loans are structured so that you're lender will release funds in periodic payments or draws to your builder. These payments or draws are payed out at the completion of each individual stage of your build. Since construction loans are considered to be riskier than a typical home loan, Lenders may require a 20% deposit on your construction loan. Before seeking financing you will want to have a detailed plan and an estimate of the assumed value of the completed house.

7. Communication During the construction process, check in regularly with your builder and other trades professionals. It's a good idea to take pictures of your progress on a regular basis. Laying out the details that you want and that are non-negotiable will help you avoid conflict during your building process as well. 8. Find ways to reduce cost New home construction is an expensive process, however there are ways you can save some money. Shopping around for the best prices on fixtures, fittings, and materials is one way. Choosing a site that requires less preparation can also help minimize costs throughout your project. Removing rocks, hauling dirt and clearing brush can be costly. 9. Hire your own building inspector Hiring an independent consultant to inspect each stage of construction will give you peace of mind. It will also ensure that all of the building materials and practices meet necessary codes and regulations. You will want inspection at these following stages:

  • Footings and Foundations Includes inspection of any formwork, drains, slab and foundations.

  • Framing Checking for walls that are straight and level. It will also make sure the building matches the dimensions laid out in the building plans, such as ceiling height, room dimensions, and roof lines.

  • Lock up Inspection at this stage will check door and window frames, window flashing, plumbing and electrical, as well as any brick work and mortar.

  • Pre Handover Checking the final finishes, fittings including tile work and painting. Also, that your build site has been sufficiently cleaned.

10. Know your rights If you've taken the proper steps to set a budget, hire the right builder and sign on with a lender that meets your needs, you've laid the foundation for a smooth building process. In the event, that the work completed does not live up to your expectations, there are channels for filing a complaint against builders. Depending on what state you're in, homeowners may be eligible to apply for a homeowners recovery fund via the general contractors licensing board. Here are a few resources: FTC consumer complaints Better Business Bureau

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