7 Steps to Create a New Home
Building a new home can seem kind of like juggling… while you’re riding a unicycle… that’s balancing on a tight rope. There are a lot of moving parts. However, with a little forethought and planning, creating a new home won’t seem like an acrobatic feat. Break the project down into bite-sized pieces with these 7 steps:
- Make your wish list, and check it twice. Based on the size of your family and your personal preferences, you will probably have a solid idea for how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll want in your new house. You’ll know that you want a kitchen and a living room of some sort. But beyond the basics, make a list of every little thing you’d like to see in your new house. Do you want an air-conditioned wine room? Add it to the list. An exercise room? Add it to the list! A standalone tub in your master bath? A steam shower? A walk-in pantry? List, list, list! This is also a good time to start thinking about what kind of overall style you want your house to be: contemporary? Traditional? Eclectic? Whatever it is, add it to the list. There are no items too large or too small to be added to your “new home wish list.” Pinterest and Houzz can also be excellent resources during this list-making period.
- Set a budget. Sometimes, we meet with prospective clients who say they don’t have a budget for their project. However, when we start suggesting numbers (would you spend fifteen million on this house?), suddenly, a budget comes into the picture! It may not be fifteen million, but it helps to narrow down a previously infinite range. Be realistic with yourself and make an absolute, “I don’t want to spend any more than ____” budget. Then, start breaking down your ultimate budget and figure out if there are areas you’d like to put a little more money towards (for, example, your kitchen). Also, don’t forget to think through any architect’s or designer’s fees that may be involved. They may not be a part of the final product, but they will play a huge part in making it become a reality.
- Enlist an architect. Now that you know what you want and you know how much you’re willing to pay for it, it’s time to enlist a professional that can help make your dreams a reality. Start looking for referrals from friends, family, and coworkers, or browse Houzz for an architect in your area. Once you’ve found a prospective architect, sit down with them for an interview. Ask to see their previous work, ask about their fees, discuss their involvement in the project once ground is broken – cover everything. There is no stupid question when it comes to finding an architect who suits your style and who you trust. And, if they end up being a part of a larger, design-build team? Two birds, one stone.
- Plan, plan, plan. This an important part, so listen close: the plans you use to build your new house are more important than the very foundation your house will sit on. A good set of construction plans (which, admittedly, it might take time to get to your “final plans” – you may have to go through a few iterations of design before you are 100% happy) will detail everything, and I mean everything. Don’t rush the planning phase. You may be excited to break ground, but doing so before your plans are set in stone can be a costly mistake.
- Building a team. If you hire a design-build firm, you’re already set. But, if you need to find a home builder to turn your architect’s plans into your reality, now is the time to do so. Your architect may have someone they suggest, but if not, refer back to the process of finding an architect in number three. Look for referrals, do a background check, ask to see their prior work, etc. Check out our article on Hiring a General Contractor on tips to hiring a building professional.
- Get to work. Finally! After a long period of dreaming, designing, revising, and well, revising again, the time has come! Get ready to buckle down as your builder starts mobilizing his troops. I have two suggestions for this phase: get in touch with your sense of patience, and don’t be afraid to communicate. A construction project, whether it be a new build or a remodel of an existing home, will take time. And, honestly, there may be unexpected delays. Being honest with yourself about what you’re getting into (repeat after me: Rome wasn’t built in a day) and you won’t be as thrown off if – no, when – delays happen. Aside from being honest from yourself, be honest with your architect and contractor. They are there to be your guides and support systems through this process. If you have any questions, comments, concerns – anything – bring it up with them. You won’t regret it.
- Enjoy! I think this step is self-explanatory. You’ve put in the time, effort, and money, and now you can reap your reward. This space is more than just four walls in a roof. It’s a home that you’ve created for yourself and your family where you can make memories for years to come. Take a good look around and appreciate it for what it is: a space that is uniquely yours.