7 things we all

hate about home building

and how to overcome them with confidence!

Nothing meaningful comes instantly.  It takes time and effort and patience!  The same can be said for building or renovating your dream home.  It takes time, money, effort, a team of skilled people and a whole. lot. of. patience.  Here are 7 things we ALL HATE about home building and how to overcome them with confidence!

1. financing is a nightmare

We obviously have to start this off with our gate keepers!  Most people (I’m assuming) don’t have the cash sitting in their savings to pay for their home build, so they have to go to a bank and get a construction loan.  Proof of income, tax statements, credit score, bank statements, employment history, blood of your first-born child… they ask for a lot!  Is it going to be an easy, quick process? No, but prepare yourself from the start that this journey and first step may take you a little bit of time.  The key is to talk to multiple smaller banks and understand all of the criteria BEFORE YOU’RE READY TO BUILD!  There is nothing wrong with getting familiar with this process 1+ years before you’re considering breaking ground on a new home or renovation.  It’s always better to know sooner rather than later what you are (and are NOT) approved for by those gate keepers!  Looking for more detailed advice regarding financing?  Click here.

2. So Many Decisions to Make

First, you’ll be asked things like “how many bedrooms?” and “do you want a one- or two-story home?” and yes, those questions can be stressful enough and sometimes answered simply with what your budget can accommodate, but that’s not the end of the questions.  You’ll be asked everything from how many rooms to “what color grout do you want in your powder room downstairs?” … and know that grout comes in DOZENS of variations… and yes several of them are variations of beige…  and these questions being asked of you regularly for a year or longer?  Exhausting!

It really is important to hire someone to help guide you!  They can work with you to understand your needs and overall vision and advocate for you throughout the entire process.  Will you still need to make decisions?  Absolutely!  But with a professional designer they will pre-vet all of the choices, weigh the pros and cons out for you so you only need to make the FINAL decision… not to do all of the research and digging through dozens, or even HUNDREDS of options for one item.

3. Another Full-Time Job

To further talk about all of the decisions, you will need to make many decisions that will have you running all over town looking at paint samples and tile and countertops and light fixtures… all of which are at different locations. You’ll have to decide and relay that to contractors, but also regularly walk through the job site and be available by phone or e-mail when they’re working… which is of course when YOU are also working!  It can be distracting and definitely feel like you have another full-time job on top of your already busy schedule.  One tip for this would be to make as many decisions as possible EARLY into the construction or quite honestly BEFORE it ever starts.  You can also set up a designated time on-site with your contractor for questions to be asked and problems to be solved… that way they have your undivided attention at regular times of the week and will reduce or eliminate interruption in the future.

4. Delays, Delays, Delays

The ugly “D” word!  No one wants to speak about it and everyone wishes it didn’t happen but it ALWAYS does!  It’s not the delay that’s critical, it’s how it’s handled!  Some delays are no one’s fault and just happen, but for those delays that could potentially be avoided, it’s best to deal with them immediately and before it becomes a real problem.  Scheduled weekly meetings with your contractor could really help avoid larger or multiple delays if you stay in regular, consistent communication on the job progress, material deliveries, and any coordination that needs to occur.  It takes a village to raise a baby… and your home is your baby!

5. Cost and Change Orders

Oh… if we could only build what we want and never have to write a check for it… such a dream!  Unfortunately, home building involves money and you’ve already stressed enough about the dollars when you financed the project, do you mean we have to talk about money past that?!

Yep. It’s going to come up again… cue change orders!  First, you need to know that a change order “refers to the documentation of an agreement to add or subtract work, alter the design, revise the schedule, modify the price, or deviate from the original project in some other way.”

The best advice we can give regarding the overall cost and change orders is ALWAYS have everything written and signed off BEFORE THE WORK IS DONE… and be descriptive!  Don’t sign something that just says “contractor to install a patio for $10,000.”  What kind of patio? What’s the quality of it? Finish material? Any other items included like a drain or exterior outlets or lighting?  Always be as specific as possible so you know EXACTLY what that $10,000 is going towards.

6. Contractor Goes MIA

Sometimes this is intentional, but many times it’s not. Contractors at their core are trained to execute designs to a level of quality that meets both the owner’s and the code officials’ criteria.  They are usually not trained in the pesky parts of owning a business like scheduling.  Scheduling can be mishandled so many ways from lack of experience to weather delays to sub-contractors just not showing up when the general contractor needs them!  The best advice I could give would be to remain on top of it; keeping those weekly meetings or politely calling the contractor for an update or to question why the drywaller isn’t there when they mentioned they would be, etc. keeps your project forward in their minds and reduces that creep in the schedule.  Plus, your general contractor might not even know the drywaller or electrician or plumber didn’t show up that day!  Stay in constant communication and remember that though this may be stressful and exhausting, remember you catch more bees with honey than vinegar!

7. Move-In Too Soon

Many, many homeowners will tell you that they really regret moving in too soon!  Moving is its own form of organized chaos… imagine then moving into a space that’s not done and has contractors moving in and out on a daily basis.  Now, sometimes moving is out of your control, say if you sold the home you were in and needed to vacate it, but if possible, wait!!  Wait until everything is done and everyone is out of your home.  That last 5% of a project can seem to go on forever, but I can almost guarantee that it will go slower if you’re sharing that space with the contractors as they’re trying to finish up.

Did you recently build a home?  What lessons learned would you like to share?  Comment below!

Jessie Ellis

Jessie Ellis

Wife, friend and dog mom with 18+ years of education and 12+ years as a commercial design professional. Always inquisitive, creative and empathetic; trying to live each day with intention.

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