Tips for Building Your New Home – Part 2

by Rachel Laurendeau on September 19, 2012

In Part 1 of our Building Tips series, we talked about setting up and sticking to a budget, finding the perfect property to build your dream home on, choosing the right general contractor and making decisions well ahead of schedule. In this installment, we’ll talk about site visits, attitudes and possession dates.

Site Visits and Updates
Ask your contractor for regular updates and go visit the building site on a regular basis. It is much easier to correct mistakes if you spot them at the beginning than if you wait until the drywall is in to tell them the kitchen window is at the wrong spot. At the very least, you should visit the site every time a progress payment is requested to make sure that you are making payments for work that has been completed, not what is upcoming. Finally, it is fun to see the progress as your house takes shape. My husband and I even went and had a slow dance under the stars in our future living room once the subfloor was in!

Attitude Is Everything
You will often hear that building a new house or undertaking major home improvements to an existing home can be chaotic, stressful and trying for individuals and for couples. No one ever really talks about the learning, discovery or fun that can be had along the way. Of course, it is easier when you and your partner are on the same page for everything but no one can be in complete agreement 100% of the time. This is where compromise and a little give and take can go a long way. Decide what is really important to you, what you are willing to really advocate for and what is not so important. In our case, my husband and I each had one splurge item that would not be vetoed by the other. We also tried to see the other person’s point of view and not get hung up on every little detail. In a few cases, when we just could not agree, we would take a step back for a few days and then decide together how we would proceed. In some cases, it just meant that one of us would compromise, knowing that we would have “our way” on one of the next decisions.

You will also find that the relationship with the general contractor or the trades’ people can be trying at times. Again, I urge you to be flexible, kind and keep your sense of humor about you. I am not saying the you should roll over if your contractor is not holding up their end of the bargain, just that you shouldn’t blow a gasket is they accidentally order the wrong doors.

Possession Dates, Moving Dates and Moving Under Construction
When construction starts, your builder will generally give you a timeline for completion. These timelines are usually pretty optimistic and should be taken with a grain of salt. Once the framing is complete and the roof is on, you should ask the builder for a new move-in estimate.

If you already own another home and will be selling it, I highly recommend waiting until you get your revised possession date before putting your house on the market. Talk to an experienced real estate agent to find out what they recommend. The problem with selling too early is that you may end up having to put your stuff into storage while you move in with your in-laws or set up in a temporary rental situation, which will cost more money that you probably haven’t budgeted for.

Finally, if it can be avoided, do not move into your house until construction is 100% complete. All too often, I’ve heard people say that they were in a hurry to move in and decided to live under construction, thinking that they could easily finish things while living in their new house. Having workers coming and going, a dusty mess to live in and extra stress is rather anti-climactic when moving into your dream home. You’ve waited this long to build your new house, give it a couple more weeks before moving in, you’ll thank me.

If you have any tips that you learned while building your new home, fell free to share them on our comment board.

Related post: Tips For Building Your New Home – Part 1

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