My husband and I wrapped up our first ever custom home build earlier this year. We are very happy with how it turned out but it was quite the journey to get to the finished product. Here are some tips if you are considering:
Pick your floor plan. You can find floor plans online- we found ours on eplans.com. Our builder took the general plans to a local architect so we could make changes.
Get a general idea of finishes you want. Make a list of Must Haves. It’s slows down the build if you’re making changes in the middle of the process and a Change Order will cost you.
Interview multiple Builders- We interviewed three. Find one that is willing to work with your style, design aesthetic and budget. One who is trustworthy and you can stand to work with for the next 6-12 months. You will be seeing a lot of each other after all!
Buy a lot! Be sure to do Geotechnical reports if you have concerns about the soil.
Create a Pinterest board for each room. Save everything you purchase or plan to purchase along with your narrowed down inspiration photos. It helps keep everything organized so you’re not searching the web when you need to find a measurement or product information. Bonus- It works as a mood-board!
Understand the market – Be sure the Builders bid doesn’t put your home in a position where it will not Appraise.
Check in everyday and always bring a tape measure– There were multiple times that I walked into our house and nearly started crying or wanted to scream. We had the wrong tile installed, our light fixtures were installed in the wrong rooms, our bathroom faucets were installed at eye level (WTH?), our laundry counters were installed wayyyyyy too high, our hood was at cabinet level and a handful of other things. If you are going the custom route, you must check in and you have to able to speak up if you see something strange.
Take your completion date and add a few months.
While you’re at it… add a few thousand to your budget. Having a 10% cushion is ideal. Anything custom or cool costs a fortune. Be willing to do some things later on your own time.. if you’re budget is tight, use it on things that aren’t as easily changed once the build is done- extend the floor plan, upgrade your mechanical units.. it’s easier to install a back-splash than it is to rip out a wall!
Research and order items online to avoid looking builder basic– This might be my favorite tip.. In Great Falls, all the new builds tend to look the same because we don’t have the selection or the resources. If you order a few light fixtures, hardware, mirrors, even tile online, your home will stand out from the rest. Just be aware, the builder warranty will not cover those items.
If you don’t want to go with a full blown custom build, you’re in luck– Many of the mass production builders will work with you to get the look you’re going for. I’ve had clients make changes to floor plans, add windows, move walls, etc, etc.. and have ended up with absolutely stunning homes! If I could go back in time, it’s probably the route I would go to save a few head aches. Either way, I hope this post is helpful!