We are just going to keep rolling right along here. If you missed Part 1, click here to read it.
Do Your Homework
Simply put, educate yourself on what you are in store for during this process. There is plenty of free material online as well as books that you can purchase that will educate you on the process of building a custom home from start to finish. This will help alleviate surprises as well as enable you to have better input in the process, even if you have no building experience.
Cost Per Square Foot
This is something that you will see when talking about apartments and yes, even some homes that are already built, but a custom home is a different set of rules. You could build five different homes with 5,000 sq. ft. of space and every one of them will have a different price point depending upon the features on the home. Don’t get so hung up on the price per square foot as you are being able to build the home that is within your budget. Speaking of the budget…
Know your budget going in, and this includes that little stash you are keeping on the side for upgrades or emergencies. Know what you can afford and do not allow anyone to talk you into adding features that will bring the budget to the point that you are going to be stretched too thin. Go over the budget, line by line, and hold the builder to it. I have heard horror stories about people that did not understand their contract only to have a home that is as much as 20 percent over the originally quoted build price.
We have hinted at this already, but it deserves its own paragraph. The more planning you do early, the less problems you are likely to encounter once ground breaks. Frank Lloyd Wright once stated, “You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledgehammer on the construction site.” I think most of use would prefer the eraser rather than the sledgehammer. More importantly, using the eraser costs far less than taking a sledgehammer to something that is already in place.
Settle on Features Early
With today’s supply chain issues, the sooner you make a decision, the better off you will be. There are some luxury features that need as much as a year lead time to get them in, so the sooner those decisions are made, the better off you will be. Be upfront with the builder about what they have in stock right now versus what you have to wait it.
To give you an idea, I recently had friends that had a custom build and worked solely with the builder on what the builder had in stock and ready to install. Their home was the first home completed in the new development. As a matter of fact, their home was ready six months before the next home was completed, and almost a year before the majority of the development was completed.
Financially, this was a huge benefit as the value of the home had already increased by roughly 30 percent by the time their last neighbor had moved into their home.
To read Part 3, click here.