Guidelines Important to Follow for New Home

Although a new house is exciting for the prospective homeowner, it is routine for the builder. The been-there done-that attitude of the builder is quite a clash with the homeowner. Building your new house should not (and cannot) be a passive exercise. A myriad of decisions have to be made, by you. Where you are unable, or unwilling to make decisions, you will force the builder to make them. To make sure your new home fulfills your own vision, you need to follow a tried and true set of guidelines. 

Understanding of Contract Essential

When you sign on the dotted line for construction of your new home, you will party to a contract involving a massive amount of money. By so doing, you abdicate NONE of your basic legal rights; therefore, know them, and exercise them. Start by reading the contract and understanding it. You are paying (or will pay over the next 25-30 years) for the knowledge of the builders — their experience and ability. PLUS you are paying your builders a profit above their expenses. What do you expect in return? How do ensure that you get what you expect? It is important to communicate and write everything down. Anything you add to the house after the contract is signed, the builder will keep track of, and just as an anything you delete or reduce. 

Save on Building Costs

You must keep costs in perspective. For instance, $10 a thousand more for brick you like better translates into only $100 more when 10,000 bricks (a typical amount) are involved. The average house contains approximately 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. Ask yourself do you need more? Why? How much more? Take care that glitz and gadgets (suggested by friends, the builder, or magazines) do not overwhelm good basic construction– don’t trade them for lesser construction. Bouncy floors (where joists are stretched to the maximum) are not remedied by a hot tub, flocked wall covering, skylights, or jazzy door hardware. You pay for each and every square foot of space in your house, be it occupied, usable, or otherwise. If the cost is $50, $85, or $110 per square foot, “extra”, unused, vacant and unnecessary area is provided at the very same cost. 

Be prepared to be Flexible

Don’t expect to control the number of nails used. Do expect a substantially built house, free of defects, and in accord with all applicable codes and regulations. Require proof of such compliance (many jurisdictions issue Certificates of Occupancy) at the closing of your mortgage. This indicates accord with the MINIMUM code and safety standards. Realize that some things are virtually unchangeable; they should be done properly, first off. This includes a properly sized and constructed foundation system, a properly designed and installed structural system, etc. Changeable items such as finishes, coverings, etc., should not distract you from watching for and requiring good basic construction. Watch for things that are not necessarily what you want and that you will not be able to change easily or cheaply. Question things that just don’t look or seem right. Most of the time they are NOT right. Seek some reliable outside, impartial advice — other than your father (even if he is a builder!).