The recent warm weather seems to be inspiring potential clients to think more earnestly about building a new home, because the number of initial inquiries we are fielding is trending upward. While it’s not too late to begin the planning process for building a home in 2018, anyone hoping to be in their new home by the end of the year should decide soon on a path.
How does a person wanting to build a home begin the process? While the answer to this question may be obvious to some, we know that it’s not to others. Here are a few thoughts to help expedite the decision-making process.
We’ll assume that you have considered the option of buying an existing home, and despite finding that this would probably allow you to purchase more for your money—at least in terms of size—you are opting to build new. There are many good reasons to build a new home rather than buying one that already exists. Bensonwood blogger Rick Reynolds has explored those reasons in this blog post.
We’ll also assume that you already own the lot on which you would like to build. We’ll save for another blog post our thoughts on finding and evaluating a building lot.
With these basics taken care of, you’ll want to consider a number of issues and address key questions, including:
DEFINE YOUR GOALS – Why are you building a new home? What are your priorities, hopes and concerns for the project? How will you define success? Articulating these goals for potential project partners will help you and them decide whether they will be a good fit for your team.
KNOW THE BUDGET – For a home to enhance your life, it has to fit within your financial means. Many construction horror stories involve costs that spiraled out of control. Having a clear budget that includes a bit of cushion is critical to minimizing stress. Clarifying the resources available may involve prequalifying for a construction loan and mortgage.
CONSIDER THE DESIGN – Listing needs and desires is a good place to start. There are many plans available for review online that can spark ideas and inspiration. The home may be pre-designed (from a stock plan), designed by a design/build company such as Unity, or custom designed (with an architect or designer). These options vary in their flexibility and predictability.
Early-on in the design process, consideration should be given to situating the home on the site. It’s usually helpful to engage a designer (or a design/build company) with the knowledge and experience to properly site the home and ensure that the design addresses your needs.
Each stage of the design should be followed by a “reality check” on the costs, ideally generated by a project manager or professional cost estimator.
NARROW THE SPECIFICATIONS – You will potentially be asked to make hundreds if not thousands of choices in the planning and building of the home. Having a sense of what you like and don’t like can help to make the process more efficient. How will the team facilitate your making well-informed choices about the materials, fixtures and finishes that make up the home?
DETERMINE THE SCHEDULE – Are there particular constraints or deadlines for the schedule? (Please don’t tell us in June that you’d like to be moved in by Thanksgiving!) How will the team ensure that the schedule goals are met?
CHOOSE A BUILDER – Does the builder have an established track record for building homes similar to the one you desire? How will the builder ensure that the schedule is maintained, the budget is met, and quality is achieved? Perhaps most importantly, how do you feel about the builder—does communication flow easily, and do your values seem to be aligned?
Every new construction project is different because each client has particular needs and desires, and every site is unique. But despite that variability, projects also share certain common goals, including maintaining quality, controlling costs, and following the schedule. There’s a common saying in the homebuilding industry: “Fast, good or cheap: pick two.” At Unity Homes, we’ve developed processes that don’t require compromising one of those three priorities. Instead, we aim to optimize them all.
If you are planning to build anytime soon, please reach out to us at [email protected] so that we can help guide you toward the path that makes the most sense for your project.