So you’ve decided to build a home instead of purchasing an existing one. Awesome decision, and one you will not regret. While the process might seem daunting, there are a few tricks I’ve found to help reduce your stress level.
As the homeowner, the real work begins months before making the decision to build. If it’s your first time with new construction the amount of decisions will amaze you. Everything from positioning of the home on the lot to the color of metal edging for the tile. Working with an experienced builder will reduce many of the decision making stresses. But, the builder needs to first get a sense of what you like. An easy way to share your vision is by creating digital “scrapbooks”.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
In digital world we live in there are now more resources for inspiration than ever. I recommend setting up two free services: Pinterest and Houzz.
Create a Pinterest board and share it with your builder. Start by organizing your pins based on the room. For example: kitchen, living room, bathroom, exterior, etc. While searching the web, simply “pin” the items you like and add a personal note for future reference.
For those who haven’t explored this rabbit hole of internet goodness, I highly recommend taking an hour (or what most likely will end up being 3) to go through the site. Much like on Pinterest, Houzz allows you to save pictures to different “boards” along with the ability to add personal notes. Where Pinterest has pictures from the entire internet, Houzz is professional-grade photography and interior design. Utilizing these two resources will aid in sharing your vision as well as open up a line of communication with the builder and architect.
As a Realtor I can tell you the most common saying I hear with new construction is, “nothing has happened all week.” In some cases, you might be correct. Inspection backlog, back ordered supplies, subcontractor scheduling issues, and bad weather are just a few of the reasons that a home might sit for a few days. In most cases, work is in fact being completed. Little items like installing gas pipes can go unnoticed. Also, remember that subcontractors often work early mornings and not weekends. A late-afternoon visit to the site is often can be frustrating when no one is around to answer questions. Having an empty job site is not a sign of a delayed project or one that won’t close on time. Much like in the pre-construction phase, communication is the key. If you feel the project is moving slowly, talk to the site superintendent or builder. Even better, bring treats for them. Remember the old saying, “sugar catches more bees than vinegar.”
Walk-Thru/Punch List Phase:
Traditionally, new home builders complete a walk-thru with the owner 2-3 weeks before occupancy. While much of the walk-thru is spent discussing items still needing to be completed, it’s also when the builder introduces you to the home. Remember that the construction manager has been with your home through the entire process. They know about the things that went wrong (yes, there will be things that go wrong). But most importantly they know how to maintain the home. The walk-thru is their opportunity to show you the ins and outs of the home, and to explain the process of properly maintaining your home. Everything from how to clean the hardwood floors to how often a diode in the water heater should be changed. Take in-depth notes. Ask in-depth questions. Learning the correct maintenance procedures now, will save you money in the future. New home buying is a fun and rewarding process. The fact that the home was designed for you and constructed with your needs in the forefront is awesome. With these three tips hopefully your new home building experience is a positive one. Happy housing from your favorite Realtor.