Some Do’s and Don’ts when Designing and Building Your Dream Home!
What would you consider do’s and don’ts when designing and building your dream home?
Well here are a few put together by Rob Abbott with Village Builders of Clearview, Ontario. I have been following Rob’s blog for years now and have to say the man knows his business. From time to time I will feature articles done by Rob here on my blog with a link back to his original article.
Don’t make the mistake of designing your new home around your existing furniture. Many people these days make the mistake of designing their new home around there existing furniture, instead of designing the furniture around there new home. I have witnessed people spend thousands and thousands of dollars having plans redrawn and buildings changed when they are being framed so that their existing furniture will fit. This is people not seeing the forest for the trees. You’re building your dream home so that you can live in it for the next 30 to 40 years. Your furniture usually will not last that long. With changing trends and with overall wear on furniture items it doesn’t make sense to spend any extra money when the house is destined to outlast the furniture. Especially these days when there is countless custom furniture makers that can make you whatever you want if you can’t find it at a normal retail outlet.
Don’t micro manage a custom home build when you have a contractor. If you did your proper research and due diligence on your contractor then they are the right company for the job. They do not require you helping them organizing things. They need you to make decisions on a timely manner and pay your bill when asked. As long as you’re happy with the quality of their work then they really don’t require you to show up on the job site every day to oversee them. This can be a major distraction for the employee’s working on the project; it can actually cost you money because you could slow them down. Most foremen on projects have been trained to stay with the client the whole time that they are on the site. This is so that the foremen can answer any questions the client might have and it is also a safety issue. Construction sites can be very dangerous places when you don’t understand what is going on. You can not only put yourself in danger but the workers too who have to keep an eye out in relation to where you’re standing.
Don’t assume that the contractor knows everything that you are thinking about. Make sure to ask questions. Questions are what contractors like, they would rather you asked a question when you don’t know something, then having you make an assumptions that could be wrong. Good contractors will strive to educate their clients, the more the client learns about how their house is put together the easier the building process becomes on the homeowner and on the contractor.
Don’t always settle for the normal product. In today’s fast evolving construction world you need a contractor that is comfortable using new products that they deem worthy of your project. If you want to build the walls out of concrete instead of wood, find a contractor that is comfortable doing that. If you want bamboo floors instead of North American hardwood then you should be able to work with the builder to find the right kind of bamboo. As long as you understand that sometimes the materials you want can take longer to get and might cost you more money then you first budgeted then you should be able to have it.
Do try to hire a contractor that has an interior designer on staff. If you unable to do this then hire an interior designer that you believe can work with you and the contractor. This can be very important because it can take people months to pick plumbing fixtures. Without someone to help weed out what you do not need or want in your house you can end up lost in the plumbing fixture world not knowing what you should choose. Also your interior designer should know the boundaries of what she has been hired to do. A lot of interior designers believe that once they have been hired it is there job to manage or oversee the project. This can cause major problems with contractor. I have seen the interior designer make major changes to the house that cause the home owner thousands of dollars just so that they can put their personnel stamp on the project. You have to make sure that when hiring a designer that you define the parameters of what they are being hired to assist upon.
Do make sure that you have a financial budget that reflects what you can afford. A good contractor will present you with either a bid or a budget for the project, but that doesn’t mean this will be the total cost of your project. There are a lot of factors that come into a major renovation or home building project, factors that the builder will not be able to foresee. So there will be extra’s depending on certain things like ground condition and design flaws. Also its human nature to change things, so when the average house build takes 8 to 12 months your mind will change on a lot of things. A lot of these things will be upgrades on what you originally choose your budget. From more expensive flooring to upgraded kitchen appliances. These chooses raise your budget from the original cost to a new higher budget. You do not want to end up in the situation where you can’t afford to finish the house because you didn’t borrow enough money.
Don’t get over focused on one part of the house to the point of down grading the rest of the house. If you are solely focused on having high end finishes in your house, so you down grade on the insulation and the overall construction of the house. High end finishes look nice but if you cheapen out on everything else like the insulation, heating system, windows and exterior finishing’s your house will not look that good after a few years. Also you will have higher maintenance costs and heating and cooling costs that could add up to massive amounts of money over time. It also will affect the resale value of your house in the future. Especially in a world where energy costs keep going up and up. Make sure that you balance your budget so that you get a house that you can save you money in the future. It’s easier to upgrade the finishes later. It’s not easy to upgrade the insulation in the walls later.
Don’t get caught in the cycle of keeping up with the neighbors. If the neighbors build a house that is 4000 sq. ft. that doesn’t mean that you have to build a house that is 5000 sq. ft. Many a person have ended up house rich and cash poor because they convinced themselves that they needed to keep up with the neighbors or friends. A lot of people end up with overly large houses and can’t afford to finish the house inside to what it deserves. If you want to spend a million dollars on a house you don’t have to build a 5000 sq. ft. house. You should be looking at what you want to pay per sq. ft. that will tell you what size of house you have to build. If you want an amazing house with the most expensive of everything you could end up spending 400sqft! That means that your million dollars only builds you a 2500 sq. ft. house. So figure out what you want in the house and then you can figure out how big the house should be.
These are just some helpful do’s and don’ts to help people and their contractors get you what you really want, your dream home!
By: Rob Abbott, with www.villagebuilders.ca