Tips for Home Building
Home building is on the rise. In fact, Utah led the nation last year with new residential construction.
For many, home building is a real dream come true. But if you’ve never built a home before and don’t know what to expect, building a home can be a real nightmare. Check out these tips to help you get through the process and achieve your dream:
1. Do Your Research
If you’re wanting to build, chances are you want something different than what most homes on the market are currently offering. To help the process, find a reputable builder you can trust, and share the floorplan that you love, along with any other ideas you have for your home. You’re investing a lot of money, so you want to get everything on your wishlist. To find ideas and inspiration, visit home shows, attend a local parade of homes, research the latest trends online, or meet with an architect.
Finding a trusted builder is essential. Look for one that is insured and bonded, and in good standing with the state’s construction board. Ask to verify their licenses and bonds, and ask if they use independent subcontractors. This will not only ensure you’re getting a knowledgeable team, but one that is experienced as well.
2. Be Patient
The whole process of building a customized home can be lengthy. In fact, most home builders advertise that it takes between three and four months to reach completion, however, it’s not uncommon for it to take longer than that. It’s important to be realistic and flexible with the process. If it takes six months, it’s worth the wait. And if it is completed within three or four months, consider yourself lucky.
Ideally, if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, building in the spring or summer is best as there is less demand for labor and material come the cooler temperatures.
3. Have Some Wiggle Room in the Budget
If there’s one thing most home builders can attest to, it’s that there’s always some unplanned expense that comes up. Damage from weather, stolen equipment, and crews that need to be paid are just a few of the unexpected expenses you may incur–and that doesn’t even include altering the land before construction (ie. clearing trees/debris, hauling in dirt, grading, etc), fees and special permits that are required, installing retaining walls, etc. It is recommended to put aside 10-15% for a “contingency budget” for these unplanned expenses.
You may also decide to upgrade in some areas. Just be careful to track all your expenses as upgrading a little here and there can put a hole in your wallet. Be sure to balance keep it all balanced. For instance, if you decide to upgrade your flooring and cabinet, try to downgrade or cut back in other areas.
Going green is a popular upgrade and a wise investment as it will keep your home energy efficient and save you more money in the long haul. If you’re debating between upgrading appliances or being more energy efficient, weigh out your options. It’s cheaper to go green now and save up to replace those appliances down the road than it is vise versa.
4. Money-Saving Upgrades
Speaking of going green… to help maximize the energy efficiency of your home, you’ll want to keep these ideas in mind with your builder:
- Install windows that face the south to retrieve as much sunshine as possible to help heat your home.
- Ensure your bathrooms, laundry rooms, and garages are on the south side of your home with small windows to reduce heat loss.
- Invest in solid insulation, HVAC systems, and energy-efficient appliances.
5. Consider Hiring a Realtor
So you found a builder you want to work with, so why would you need a real estate agent? Why not? It’s free since the builder pays the agent’s commission. Hiring a realtor is a great idea because they will represent your best interests, whereas a builder’s sales rep has the builder’s best interests in mind. In addition, a real estate agent is a great added resource and can offer you expertise in the homebuying/ home building field. Agents can add addendums to the home builder’s contract to ensure your best interests are represented, and you have peace of mind.
6. Be Thorough with your Contract
Because you’ll be working closely with the builder for several months, you don’t want any surprises. Make sure that you understand your contract, and list in detail what you expect the builder to do. Examples of things to detail can include utility connections, liability insurance during the construction phase, and defined heated spaces.
At Northern Title, we want nothing more than for our clients to have a smooth process when building or buying a home. Follow these tips when you’re building to ensure a smoother home building process, and visit us here at Northern Title to secure your title insurance policies and escrow closing work.