Building a new home can be both exciting and daunting. While it’s easy to imagine magazine-worthy images of your perfect dream home, you have probably heard more than one negative story from well-meaning friends and family about the time, work, and cost involved.
As with any big project, preparation is critical, and you won’t ever regret the time you spend drawing up a good plan. It’s guaranteed to pay huge dividends in avoiding unnecessary stress, and financial pitfalls too.
Here, then, are some key things to keep in mind as you start your home building journey. Home rules, so to speak.
From the very beginning of the home building process, clear communication is key. As you go along, check in with yourself and other family members to make sure you are being very specific about what you do and do not want.
Also ask for clarification and ensure you understand what is being said. Don’t assume - it hardly ever ends well.
Before you set your heart on a picturesque waterfront property or start drafting a layout for that lovely lot in a family-oriented subdivision, take a long hard look at your financial situation.
Meet with your financial advisor to discuss mortgage and financing options so you have an accurate idea of what you can afford. Having a budget in mind early on will help you make realistic “must-have” and “would-be-nice” priorities as you move through the building process.
See what a mortgage payment would be with this Mortgage Calculator from RBC. (http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/mpcrds/start.html)
Where your home is located is as important of a detail as the interior features of the house. Think about your lifestyle and living needs, now and into the future.
That beautiful country property may look perfect, but have you thought about the time it will take to commute or how far away the closest grocery store is?
Research the area thoroughly: zoning, school district, healthcare and other essential services, recreational facilities, and transportation. Talk with people who live there and ask lots of questions: find out exactly what they like, and don’t like, about the area.
Land Developments for Prestige Homes (http://prestigehomes.ca/land-ideas.html )
How to Choose the Perfect Location (http://blog.remax.ca/how-to-choose-the-perfect-location/ )
If you’re like most people, design ideas start springing to mind as soon as you begin thinking about building your own home. Make a point of collecting your ideas either digitally or in an old-fashioned clippings binder.
Keeping your budget in mind, think about the building layout and how much natural light you want. Make sure to consider energy efficient options, as you could save thousands of future dollars.
Think about what features are most important to you and what can live without.
With a budget in mind, a location, and a fairly good sense of what you want the house to look like, you’re ready to begin looking for a builder.
Ask friends and family for recommendations and try to find at least two or three different builders to get one with the right experience to match your needs. Arrange an interview and ask to meet with key members of the team.
Make sure you are clear on costs and any extra charges in the design and building process. Ask for referrals - a reputable builder will be happy to provide them.
The list of design decisions is long: materials, cabinets, lighting, flooring, exterior finishes, appliances. The more decisions you make now, the easier the process will be later.
Take the time to look at all your options, consult your budget and—as mentioned earlier—communicate clearly with your builder. This way, both expectations and timelines are clear to everyone involved.
Landscaping often falls off the radar when building a new home, but it will be a large part of the property’s appeal. As you’re making the big (and small) building and design decisions, try to give some thought to the exterior of your home.
Think beyond walkways, driveways, and decks, to what the view will look like from your windows.
Check out these articles from HGTV & Better Homes & Gardens about landscaping:
Tips for Landscaping a New Home (http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/design/tips-for-landscaping-a-new-home)
Landscape Design for Beginners (http://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/landscape-basics/landscape-design-for-beginners/ )