Making plans to build a home for you and your family? Be wary of the most common mistakes folks tend to make during the building process. These include:
- Being your own general contractor. Some people may try to talk you out of hiring a general contractor. They may tell you that you can save money by doing it yourself. This is absolutely false! General contractors have relationships with plumbers, sheet-rockers, concrete finishers, etc. He or she can help you find the right person for the job and, chances are, the job will get done at a lower cost since it’s someone the contractor knows. While you may have some knowledge about the building process, you don’t have the level of expertise as the general contractor. It’s their job to monitor the quality of work that’s being done. And if for some reason, there’s an issue with the work – they have to pay for it to be corrected.
- Failing to have a set of plans. Have a complete grasp of what you want your house to look like before you ever hire a contractor. Mistakes are more likely to happen when you only have a vague idea of what you would like. Plans help ensure that you will get what you’ve been dreaming of; they also help give you a cost estimate for the job. You’ll know what materials will be needed and how much they will cost; your contractor will be able to give you an estimate of the cost of labor. And delays will less likely happen since the plans are set in stone (that is, of course, unless you make a last minute change to them).
- Not selecting the best contractor for the job. Don’t rely simply upon advertisements. Ask around; if you know someone who has built a house recently, find out who they used and what their experience was like. Once you find someone, search them online, visit construction sites to see what their work looks like. Don’t be afraid to ask the contractor for references so you can call and speak with them. Find out which subcontractors he or she uses, see if they fit your standards and ask them for references also.
- Trying to build on inadequate space. If the land slopes up, don’t plan for a walk-out basement at the rear of the home. If the land slopes sharply to one side, adjust your plans to fit accordingly to prevent your garage from being 6 feet off of the ground. Inspect the contour of your lot and make sure your plans will work. Financially, you’ll want your home to be an investment that increases in value over time. That being said, don’t focus on having the biggest home in the area. You won’t receive the maximum return on dollars per square foot, as you’ll have only increased the value of the homes surround yours. With this being the case, those smaller homes will actually decrease the value of yours when it’s time to sell. It’s actually not a bad idea to build the smallest home in the area, as the higher priced homes around it will increase the value of yours.
- Failing to check the foundation. While it may seem unbelievable, it’s not common for the foundation to end up uneven. If the foundation isn’t level, there is a chance trusses won’t line up correctly; this means you’ll need new ones, costing you more money. Everything will have to be reworked… If the foundation isn’t right, nothing will end up right.
- Bypassing engineered products when available. These are roof trusses, beams, floor systems, etc. They are engineered, designed and sized for every specific job. Not only will the job get done, but it will also be correct as the system utilizes the exact calculations for the job at hand.
- Forgetting to think of the future. Determine your needs before building, then build based around those needs. Do you plan on having children one day? Do you plan on letting the family stay at your home during summer vacation months? Does your home need wheelchair access? Keep the future in mind as you build so you won’t have to make changes later.