house construction

What to Consider Before Building a House?

In our lifetime, we have all imagined a solidly built dream house where we can be at ease and, at the same time, establish a comfortable lifestyle. Although it’s exciting and, of course, easy to describe our dream home, making it a reality can be a complicated process—especially if you are a first-time homeowner. 

Everybody wants to have their dream house. However, even if you’re ready to build your own, you sometimes don’t know where to start. That’s because there are several factors and options that you should consider before starting up the process of constructing one. You have to carefully plan each component of your new home, which includes privacy, positioning as well as design. If you’re planning to build your dream house anytime soon, here are a few considerations that you should bear in mind from the get-go.

Things To Consider When Building a New Home

Budgeting the expected cost

budgeting the expected cost

Your dream house can be shattered in the beginning once you find out how framing can cost you more than you thought. So before proceeding to the actual plan, it’s important to sit down and understand the cost breakdown. The cost usually depends on the location, size, design, procurement route, project management, construction type, and quality. 

However, there will be instances where the cost exceeds estimates. And aside from the above-mentioned factors, items or materials that aren’t even included in the original budget plan may occur due to unforeseen circumstances or conditions. 

While sparks of inspiration will keep you motivated throughout your build, it’s your budget that is going to drive the direction of your project. Start by getting a clear idea of your finances and make a wants and needs list. This will help you determine what your non-negotiables are, and it will help you weigh your options if you end up having to make tough decisions. It’s important to note that finance details for building a home are different from a standard mortgage, and there are lots of different ways you can structure it to work for you. Do some research and talk to a Construction Finance specialist about what options would work in your price bracket – you could be pleasantly surprised.

Getting the right location

When building your dream house, the next thing you’ll probably think about is the location. Though “Location, location, location!” has been used as a common phrase among property experts, choosing the most desirable location can make an impact on your home’s value and lifestyle. 

Living in a house next to a highway would lead to a lot of irritation because of all the loud noises. Apart from that, you should also consider the neighbourhood and the distance from school or work so you won’t get stuck in traffic jams. Securing an ideal spot before committing too much to the actual building of your house might prove to cost some extra planning but will be worth your time.

Designing and building your dream house

Some people assume that all they need is a builder and the suitable materials to do it when building a house. But, sturdy and aesthetically pleasing houses were not built in just the blink of an eye. Whether they like it or not, first-time homeowners need to hire an architect to supervise the entire process. 

Architects will not just create the design, proceed with the drafting, and pick the materials for you; they can also guarantee that you have a home that suits your lifestyle needs, definitely putting your money to good use.

Choosing a quality contractor or house builder

After the architect has finished polishing the design and blueprints, it’s now time to choose the right contractor who will help you throughout the construction process. 

While there are a lot of builders out there, finding a trustworthy and professional contractor can make a world of difference—both in ensuring that you don’t go over budget and your dream house looks the part. Moreover, a professional builder will oversee the construction process, making sure that the ceiling won’t leak and the walls won’t collapse. 

Picking the right materials

Now that you’re ready to build your dream house, it’s essential to choose the right materials. Although it is an often-overlooked stage in the building process, picking out the right tools and durable materials will surely save you from potential overspending, future frustrations, and disappointment. 

The home-building process doesn’t just end with structuring. The overall outcome also depends on the finishing work that includes facing, plastering, flooring, painting, wallpapering, and glazing.

Family size

The best part about building a new house is knowing the space is tailored to fit you and your family. Your social habits and family size should play a big role in the design of your home. Your layout should be intuitive to how you live and entertain. Think about your family life what would make it easier in your new home. Do you want to be near the kids or at the other end of the house? Do you need more than one ensuite?

Invest in getting the flow right and try to find a mix between large multi-functional rooms and smaller, intimate spaces. You want your home to still work for you over time, so future-proofing your design is also important. To help you get started, take a look at the hundreds of plans Signature Homes have available to get inspiration for what could work for you.

Interests/lifestyle

Your home should reflect you and make it easy to do the things you love. Starting with a blank canvas means you can build a home that matches your interests. Once you’ve figured out your core needs, like your kitchen layout and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, make sure you consider your lifestyle. Think about your hobbies and the things that make you happy – will you need extra room in the garage for bikes or a boat? Can you have a covered deck if you like having dinner parties and BBQs? Is a connection to nature important to you? Asking yourself questions like these will highlight your needs and help you focus on your floorplan and final design.

Land

You can’t build a home without the land, so this point is an important one. Whether you decide to find an empty plot, subdivide your current section, or knock down and build new, there are a few ways you can get creative when building your dream home. If you’ve got a piece of land in mind, check what type of building it is zoned for with your council, either online or in person.

Trusted building companies like Signature Homes offer house and land packages, which are cost-effective to build new. Not only does it streamline the process, but you’ll get insider access to land, and they often require a lower deposit. Once you’ve sorted your site, you’ll be able to get a clear idea of how the landscape, sun’s orientation and surrounding neighbours will influence your final design.

Style

This is the fun bit! From external cladding and windows treatments to fixtures and finishes, start collecting images of home exteriors and interiors you love on Pinterest or in a scrapbook and organise your images into categories – you will notice themes start to appear. Remember to stay practical and keep your budget in mind. Show homes are a fantastic way to get real-life inspiration; they can offer ideas you may have not even considered and give you a sense of what you can get for your budget.

For real convenience, you can take virtual tours through show homes from the comfort of your living room. You’ll get insights into layout and design and see what would work on a big or small section. They have access to hundreds of plans available, which can then be easily adapted to suit your style. Go and gather inspiration, talk to an expert and put your ideas into action.

Line Up Your Team

Once a working budget, a building site, and home design are selected, you can now begin assembling the team of experts to design and construct your house. Key players can include a builder, an excavator, a surveyor, and a home designer or an architect if needed. In most cases, homeowners begin by selecting the builder (general contractor). That pro then selects other members of the team. However, you may also opt to hire an architect or designer first.

The big question is this: How involved will you be (can you be) in the process? While most homeowners hire a general contractor/builder to coordinate most or all of the work, it is also possible for a homeowner who wants to be deeply involved in the process to serve as his or her own GC. In this case, you will be hiring and supervising all the subcontractors—excavators, carpenters, concrete contractors, etc.—yourself. Working this way is not for the faint-of-heart, but for the right person, it can be a rewarding way to build a house, as well as one that saves money.

What About Nontraditional Construction?

What your house looks like does not necessarily dictate how the house is constructed. Traditional frame construction is not the only option. Many people have become intrigued with straw-bale houses, rammed earth construction, and even cob houses. But you cannot expect traditional builders—or even all architects—to be experts in everything. Building traditional houses using a nontraditional method requires a team that specialises in that type of construction. Do your homework and find the right architect and builder who can realise your vision.

Negotiate a Contract

Be sure to get written, signed contracts for each building professional involved in building your home. At the very least, this means a contract with the general contractor/builder and the home designer or architect if they are part of the process.

contract

What goes into a building contract? A new home construction contract will describe the project in detail and include a listing of all the parts to be included in the house—the “specs.” Without detailed specifications, your house will likely be built with “builder’s grade” materials, which can be on the cheaper side. Be sure to hash out the specs as part of the negotiation before the contract is written as part of the negotiation and make sure everything is clearly listed. Remember to amend the contract later on if you or your contractor makes any changes to the project.

What’s going in the house?

Architects use the term program to define everything that goes into a house. The program is the list of all the rooms and requirements for the house. You should take your time to think this through. Most importantly, you do not need to have everything figured out on day one. Start with the big things and then work your way down to finite details. Sit down and make a list of all the rooms you will need in the house. Also, make a second list, your wish list of additional rooms/things you may want if you can afford it. Don’t forget your budget may limit what you can build. Start with the basics. Here are some things to consider:

Make a list of rooms to go in the house

  • Bedrooms: How many bedrooms? Do you want a master suite? Will bedrooms have their own bathrooms? Do you want walk-in closets?
  • Bathrooms: How many bathrooms do you want? Bathtubs or showers or both. How many pieces? Do you want lavatories in certain areas (just toilet and sink)?
  • Kitchen: What do you need in your kitchen? How big of a kitchen? Do you prefer open kitchens or a closed kitchen?
  • Living Rooms: How do you want your living room to work? Is it big or small? Do you want multiple living rooms?
  • What about additional rooms like Family Room, Sun Room, TV Room, Exercise Room?
  • Utility and storage rooms: Laundry Room, Mud Room, equipment room, storage spaces. Do you want an attic or a cellar?
  • WorkSpace: Home office, workshop, library, music room, homework room for the kids.
  • Special Rooms: Do you have any special requirements that wouldn’t typically be included in a house. I had a client who wanted a screening room for example.
  • Garage: Do you want a garage? How many cars do you have? Would you prefer a detached garage separate from the house or part of the house?
  • Exterior Spaces: What kind of outdoor spaces do you want: balconies, terraces, roof deck, patio, porch, 3 seasons enclosed porch, barbecue area, greenhouse, shed, vegetable garden, driveway, swimming pool etc…

Everybody has different requirements; there may be many things you need or want that are not on this list, so think them through and prioritise them. What is most important and what isn’t.

Tips for Budgeting

  • Beware of banks who want to lend you more money than you can afford—this was one of the reasons behind the 2008 financial crisis. There is no reason to build a house that costs the maximum loan amount the bank approves. It is a very good idea to stay well under that amount. Talking to an independent financial advisor is a great way to determine how much you can comfortably spend to build your house.
  • Plan for cost overruns. Virtually all construction ends up costing more than initially planned. This often occurs because the costs of building materials change or because of changes you request during the design and construction phase. Make sure you build a buffer to your budget so that the inevitable overruns don’t break the bank.
  • Get at least three contractor bids (and check references). In most cases, the bulk of the expense of building a home is the money you’ll pay to a general contractor (GC), who will manage all the labourers and subcontractors who work on the construction of your home. There is a delicate balance between picking an affordable contractor but one who does quality work using good materials. Start with getting references from people you know who were satisfied with their builder, then carefully interview at least three. This process will give you a pretty good idea of what your home will cost to build.
  • Comparison shop for materials. While the general contractor typically picks most of the building materials, appliances, and amenities, you will want to involved in this process. If you are in love with granite countertops, for example, take note of this now so that such preferences can be communicated to the builder you eventually choose.

Hidden Costs of Building a New Home

First-time homeowners are often startled when they begin to recognise the hidden costs of owning their own homes. There are many one-time start-up costs to building your first home—furniture, lawn and garden equipment, window treatments, internet and media wiring. Homeownership comes with ongoing monthly expenses that can catch you off-guard if you’re not prepared for the—expenses such as homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and lawn-care services. If you’ve been a renter up to now, these expenses can be a shocking surprise.

Building a dream house might be expensive and time-consuming. However, it also comes with great benefits as it allows you to personalise your house in a way that fits your lifestyle. Whatever reason you have for building your own home, keep these tips in mind, and you’ll make that dream come true in no time.

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