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6 Essential Tips for Building a Custom Home

6 Essential Tips for Building a Custom Home

January 30, 2018

The difference between an idea and reality is a lot of hard work. Over 54 percent of people hire professionals to help create their custom homes. But the more contractors involved in making your dream home, the more on point your plans need to be.

That’s why we’ve put together these six essential tips so both you and the contractors know how to make your custom home a reality.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

A house isn’t something you can throw together overnight. Plan well in advance to keep things running smoothly. Your earliest drafts might only use a pencil and paper. That’s a great way to get the overview down before you go deeper.

Get an architect involved early. They’ll translate your daydreams into practical reality, and use cutting-edge tools to do it.

The earlier you plan, the more time you’ll have to think about it from different angles. Let the ideas percolate. Planning early will also translate the flaws of your custom home onto paper. Once you see these, it’s easy to fix them. It’s a lot harder to handle these issues later on.

Have a Purpose

A home isn’t an ornament. It has practical implications on our lives. Think about your intentions for your home, and build those into your plan. Some purposes require more thought than others. A summer getaway, for example, might not need much.

If you’re living in the home full-time, think about what you’ll need from it. Do you have kids or pets? If not, maybe you’re planning to have them in the future. Do you see yourself growing old in this home? Build that into the plans, so you don’t face the heartbreak of abandoning your dream home when the time comes.

Thinking about your purpose in advance also means you’ll have an end product which reflects your desires. In short, it will actually feel like home. If you’re going to the trouble of building a custom home, then it’s worth spending that extra time to think about.

Prioritize, Don’t Fantasize

In software, they call it ‘feature creep‘. The more you over-egg your design, the less likely you are to realize it. And even if it does come together eventually, it will take a long time.

This goes hand-in-hand with defining your custom home’s purpose. Prioritize the areas you want to invest the most time in. If you want a social spot for a wide circle of friends, then investing in a large living space with expensive fireplace might be the way to go. If it’s a more functional family home, focus on storage and multiple bathrooms. In this case, you might want a smaller, cozier living room. This doesn’t mean cutting back on your ambitions. It’s a case of funnelling those ambitions into where they’ll pay off most. Put it together with your budget, and you’ll soon see where you’ll want to invest the most money and labour.

Grab the Calculator

Building a home is never a cheap process. Thus, it’s important to have a handle on costs from the beginning. Once you have a solid plan, get quotes at every stage of the process. Also, keep a note of any high-value individual spends, such fireplaces, as you may want to check the options for these separately.

Add an additional buffer fund to every cost you total up. Construction work often ends up with a few surprises, whether it’s local services problems or an oversight in the plan. With a buffer in place, unforeseen expenses are already factored in.

Costing up doesn’t mean you need to scale down your plans, though. It can even help you pick out a few particular areas to spend additional cash on. Splashing out on giving the house more light or better insulation could be a strong investment.

Work with your contractors closely on this one. They’ll give you a realistic picture of what you can expect from your budget, along with the timeframe you’ll be looking at. If you’re using the right contractors, they’ll have much more experience than you, so use it.

Don’t Skimp on Labour

Speaking of contractors and cost, the expense of building a custom home isn’t an excuse to skimp on the labour. It takes a team with dedicated skills to bring a home together, from the architects right through to the decorators.

Trying to pinch pennies at this point invites disaster. Sloppy building work could cause problems that are so fundamental that you’ll never get rid of them. Poor communication will lead to setbacks, delays, and inflated costs.

Thoroughly vet any labour you use for quality. Ideally, use labourers who have worked with other people you know. Personal recommendations are a great way to remove the random element from your hires. Ensure your contractors are two-way communicators. You should feel comfortable coming to them with discussions, and they should feel they can speak to you about any issues that come up. A silent contractor is more likely to be covering up shoddy work.

Focus on Temperature

Not many people enjoy wearing a dozen layers in their own home. And you won’t get much enjoyment if you’re sweltering in summer, either.

Focus some cost and effort on controlling temperatures suitable for the location. If you live in a place with hot summers, your HVAC could be the difference between a home and a sweatbox.

Quality insulation is always a good investment. You’ll make the money back in reduced bills, and it will improve the comfort and environmental impact of your home. Build your house with good insulation in mind, and you won’t need remedial work done later.

Building Your Custom Home

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to start planning your custom home, turning your idea into a reality. Whatever you intend to use it for, using this guide like a checklist will help keep you on track.

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