Decisions, Decisions – 7 Tips for Selecting Options and Upgrades with Your Builder
Sorting through the upgrades and options available for custom building can be daunting. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when working your builder.
Big changes are things such as adding a fireplace or pantry, or removing a wall. Design changes that will alter the physical structure of the building. These are the things most likely to have a dramatic impact on both the completion timeline and the price you end up paying for your custom home. As soon as you know you want something like this changed or added, sit down and discuss it with your contractor.
2. Put Your Choices in Writing
If you’ve never had a custom home built before, you’ll soon be overwhelmed with the number of choices you have to make. It’s impossible to keep track of everything in your head, making it easy to make errors in design choices. As soon as possible after signing the contract, use a blank journal or notebook to create a book of finishes and options for your new home. Include things such as paint colors, hardware finishes, photos of baseboard and counter profiles, and anything other selections you have made. This will make it much easier for you and your builder to reference your choices at a glance.
3. Trust Your Builder
If you’ve gone to the trouble of hiring a reliable custom home builder, do yourself a tremendous favor and trust their opinions as you both move through the building process. Your builder has the experience to know just about everything that goes into planning and building custom homes. Listen carefully to your builder’s suggestions about options and upgrades, and know that they come from experience and know-how.
4. Organize Your Budget With a Spreadsheet
When building a custom home, it’s not enough to have a general idea of how much you want to spend. It’s always a good idea to track your expenditures. When you use a spreadsheet, you can quickly and easily move items around without changing the bottom line. For instance, maybe you can afford to upgrade to a premium kitchen countertop if you’re willing to downgrade the carpet in the bedrooms. With a spreadsheet, you can easily see how changing those numbers still allows you to stay within your budget.
It’s easy to let your dreams get the better of you when building a custom home. But keep in mind that you might want to resell the home at some point far in the future. If you over-customize it, you might inadvertently make it difficult for future buyers to picture themselves living in the house. The basic rule of thumb is: customize the little things, but keep the basic things standard.
6. Communicate Frequently with Your Builder
Your custom home builder may need to reach you quickly in the event of a schedule change or to make sure you’re home to receive delivery of building materials. If your builder can’t reach you for days, you may inadvertently be holding up the entire project. Make yourself readily available for communication with your builder to keep the whole process moving forward on a timely basis.
7. Know the Timeline
While you’re waiting for your custom home to be built, it’s likely that you’re either in the process of selling your current home, or planning your relocation to the new area. To avoid problems, make sure you and your builder are on the same page as far as the timeline for your custom home build. Your builder will be more than happy to share the timeline with you, as well as any changes that will inevitably come along.
When you keep these seven tips in mind, your experience with your custom home build will go very smoothly.