Few things in life match the satisfaction of having a new home custom built to meet your exact specifications. When you buy a home that was previously owned or built to a developer’s standard plans, there are always going to be compromises made during the shopping process. When you have a home builder create you something from the ground up however, you’re afforded an unprecedented opportunity to get a home that is truly unique for you and your family. However, just because you’re having a home builder tackle the construction doesn’t mean that you should remove yourself entirely from the process. To get a result that you’re truly in love with, you need to work collaboratively with your builder to ensure your dream home comes out right. These questions are a great place to start before you break ground on your new home.
How Can We Make the Home More Energy Efficient?
It is easy to get wrapped up in the fun details such as designing the floor plan and selecting the finishes for your home, but sometimes it pays to get down to the functional details such as the energy consumption that you can expect for your house. If you’re building a custom home, you likely plan to be in it for decades, not a few years. That means that energy inefficiencies aren’t just going to contribute to environmental damage, they’re also going to cost you a lot of money over the long term. Go over your plans with your home builder and ask for some tips on how you can improve the energy efficiency of the design before you even get started.
What is the Proposed Construction Schedule, and What Kind of Variance is Built into Those Estimates?
If you’ve never worked in construction, or haven’t commissioned a large construction project previously, you may be unaware of how much variance is involved when predicting how long the given phases of any project will take. Any home builder with integrity will do their best to anticipate all budgetary needs, construct an accurate timeline and offer you their best estimate—but these efforts are still anticipatory. Construction projects, even when conducted by an experienced and honest home builder, often end up being more complicated than initially thought due to the variety of changing variables affecting project completion.
Factors such as unexpected groundwater, weather, permitting issues, zoning issues, subcontractor conflicts, material availability and many, many other issues can all delay the schedule first provided to you by your home builder. Asking about the outside ranges allows you to understand what your schedule might shift to if unexpected hurdles are encountered in the process and can prepare you and your family for the project ahead.
How are We Going to Communicate?
Establishing the communication channels that are going to exist between you and your builder should be done well before a shovel ever goes in the ground. Different builders and different homeowners have preferred ways of managing communications, and there is no one-size-fits all way to structure your communication schedule and structure. However, you want to clearly lay this out before the project begins. Points to clarify here include:
- How often will you have a meeting with the builder once the project begins?
- At what stages will you inspect the site before work progresses?
- What types of questions should the builder ask you before progressing?
- What is the preferred method of communication? Text? Phone? Email?
A note about communication methods: although phoning someone and discussing things in person can be the quickest way to clarify issues regarding the build, it is important to have things in writing. If you have a conversation over the phone or in person, it is always a good idea to send a quick email summarizing the discussion and requesting acknowledgment of that discussion. That way, you have a paper trail as time goes on to verify the nature of your conversation with your builder, just in case any disagreement arises in the future.
Ask for Design Input
This is something that a lot of people balk at, but believe us that it will be beneficial to you in the long run. Talking to your contractor about the design of your home is a great way to anticipate problems before they arise.
Sometimes in the building industry there is a disconnect between designers and builders. Designers may create something that appeals to you for its beauty or style, but which is woefully impractical in terms of construction. The best designers have actual building experience or work closely with home builders in order to understand the practical, as well as the aesthetic elements of design. Discussing the design with a home builder before ground is broken is a great way to reduce construction complications and cost overruns as the project moves on.
What Materials are Best for My Purpose?
Cutting corners when building a home by opting for more affordable materials is a temptation to which many soon-to-be homeowners succumb. However, material choice affects many downstream aspects of your build. For instance, it may affect how long certain aspects of your home last, how much maintenance is required, the aforementioned energy efficiency, and even your home’s resale value.
A home builder will be an expert in all of the latest innovations in building materials and processes. By asking for direct input on material choice you can learn about where you can save a few dollars, and where it pays to go premium. Basing those kinds of decisions purely on the short-term economics might be doing your investment, and your home, a disservice in the long run.
Home Builders Don’t Just Build Houses
A home builder is building a lot more than a house – they are building a home that can last you and your family a lifetime. By having some in depth conversations with your builder before construction begins, you can help give your family that totally unique home that you’ve been dreaming of. If you want to find out how your dream home could become a reality, try reaching out to Koncept Design + Build to learn about how to take your dream out of your head and into reality.