by Kimberly Blackford
The "American Dream" has always been to own a home. This dream includes not only owning your home, but building it.
Countless hours have been spent pouring over floor plans and home designs until the perfect one was found. Files are filled with ideal pictures you have found in home magazines of layouts, design ideas and other information. Finally, you are ready to make this dream a reality. But in the pit of your stomach lingers a feeling, a concern that something may go wrong. Relax. That feeling can be remedied by following these simple suggestions that will help you in avoiding costly mistakes when building your dream home.
- Not planning a budget. A dream home that you have overextended your budget on will be more like a nightmare. How much can you afford? How do you plan to finance your dream home? Secure financing first. This will make designing and planning your project easier because you will know exactly how much money you have to spend. By planning a budget and securing financing, you have developed solid ground on which to negotiate with builders. They know you mean business.
- Over-building for your community or area. Chances are you have already chosen a lot, or an area or neighborhood, on which you plan to build. Look around. Building a home that is comparable in size and style to the surrounding homes is important. If your needs require a larger home, it is suggested that you build no more than 500-1000 sq. ft. larger than the average home in your area. On the other hand, do not build smaller, as it may affect your resale value later.
Also, consider the style of your dream home in comparison to those that will surround it. Although you want your home to have its own character and appeal, you do not want it to stick out like a sore thumb within your neighborhood. A home that is so unique and not comparable to the surrounding homes may not allow you to recoup your original investment in the long run.
- Not planning ahead. Start by choosing a plan that will grow with you. What are your needs right now? Will these needs change within 10 years? What about 20 years? Chances are, they will, so plan your dream home accordingly. List what is important to have in your home right now and what you will need in the future. You may choose a home plan that is designed specifically to meet your needs. Or, if you have a floor plan that you like but worry it won't meet all of your needs, talk with a builder or an architect. Their expertise may provide you with minor modifications that will ease your mind and potentially take you into the future with greater ease. Planning ahead also includes making decisions early. Know what you want before the builder asks. Make choices early regarding everything from the floor to the ceiling. Time and money are wasted during the building stage when the builder has to wait on you to make a decision or when changes have to be made to an existing structure at a later stage of building.
- Choosing the wrong builder. Your choice of builder is the most important decision in the process of building your dream home. Talk with several builders and be thorough with your questions, concerns, and ideas. Visit current building sites and see projects they are working on. Ask for references and then visit these sites as well. Talk with the homeowners. Keep in mind this is someone you will be working with to build your dream home over several months.
- Being passive. Be involved with the building of your home. Start by reading the builders contract. Ask for clarification of anything you do not understand. Be sure building codes are being followed. Watch for things that aren't necessarily the way you want them. Be ready to resolve problems by compromising. Keep record of expenses. And most importantly, communicate, communicate, and communicate!
So, now you are ready to make your dream home a reality. Realistically, it is impossible to foresee and avoid every possible mistake that may occur when building your dream home. But, keep in mind these simple suggestions and you will be on your way to achieving the American dream of being a proud homeowner.
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