Building a home is not effortless. New home construction is a complex set of decisions that are more likely than not out of your comfort zone. The number of decisions to be made are complicated by the extraordinary number of options and restrictive budgets.
When you consider that every inch of the structure — inside and out — is touched or handled by someone other than yourself, it’s not hard to see where issues might arise. But building a custom home can be rewarding and a once in a lifetime experience.
There are ways to approach a project that can make it less stressful. Make it easy by using proven project management tools utilized by successful builders, designers and savvy homeowners before you. From finding and selecting the right professionals to counting costs, the key is to be prepared and stay patient.
1. Project management: Utilize professionals from day one until the day you move in. Resist the urge to cut costs by questioning the management fee incurred with most builders. Every dollar of this fee is a contribution to success. Once professionals are hired, whether it is a builder, architect, designer or specialty trades professional, let them do their job. As a novice in the home construction industry, would you expect yourself to know more than the professional who has completed dozens of homes? A true professional will advise you on options and issues while adhering to your wishes.
2. Building plans: Never start a project without a full set of building plans. A builder uses detailed plans to price the project, order materials (like trusses, windows, doors, concrete, and framing lumber), and identify qualified sub-contractors. Detailed plans are used by more than just the builder. Local building code inspectors require plans for review and approval. Interior designers, cabinet companies, flooring, and plumbing specialists, all use plans for design, layout, and pricing.
3. Counting costs: Every project has a budget. Start the budgeting process by knowing the square footage. Base square footage rates for new construction in the Frankfort area average $120-140 per square foot. A builder’s estimate typically includes “allowances” for items like cabinetry, lighting and plumbing fixtures, flooring, etc. But, the value of these allowances is relative. By providing these allowances the builder is returning budget considerations back to you. If high end finishes or specialty products are a must for you, the cost increases.
4. Details, and finer details: The best homes are presented through thoughtful, deliberate decisions. Does the roof color work with the brick? Does exterior door style conform to the architectural theme? Are finishes consistent throughout the home? Is the lighting attractive and functional? Focus on broad, consistent themes, instead of small, inconsequential elements. Opt for timeless selections over trendy impulses.
5. Patience: Building a home is a complex process. There are countless moving pieces and parts with many happening outside your view. Delays happen. Construction can be affected by weather, permitting issues, and labor or materials shortages. The builder is likely working on other projects at the same time. A small hiccup on one project can affect a scheduled activity on another. Threats, and ultimatums don’t get the home built any faster. The best approach on an issue is to be patient — to a point. Check frustrations by evaluating the real issues. There is a solution to almost any problem.