Our house has walls! The concrete has been poured, the framing is complete, we have a roof over our heads and the siding is up (almost). I had mentioned in my Home Decor Ideas post that we are building a house. All the space that we used to think we had in our old house, somehow vanished into thin air, well, not really, but it sure felt like it. Once you add a few kids to the mix, it’s crazy how small your house can start to feel.
The whole process has been exciting and stressful all at the same time. Stressful because it’s a big numbers game and exciting because you get to design it from scratch by adding your own twist. There are a lot of variables and components that can make everyone’s experience very different, like the builder you use, the neighborhood you choose, and whether you customize or go with an existing model plan provided by the builder. We did a complete custom design on the first floor and made minor changes to the second floor. As long as you are within your allotted square footage price, the builder shouldn’t have a problem with where you put your walls. Don’t get me wrong, you can easily go outside of your budget. Easily.
Below I am sharing my 10 tips in building a new house based on our experience thus far. Some of these we did prior to building and some we learned along the way.
1. Pinterest/Houzz is your best friend. Start pinning and saving pictures you like early. I started probably 6 months before the whole process began and I must have seen every possible style on Pinterest and Houzz, theme, and design imaginable. I’m very happy with all of the choices we made and I can’t wait to see the finished product.
2. Figure out your style and try to keep it consistent (somewhat). It’s ok to have your cabinets one color and your island another, that’s a popular trend actually. I’m talking more of like contemporary vs. Mediterranean style. It’s ok to mix some styles, but try to keep it within the same category. You never know when you will need to sell your house.
3. Have a plan B or plan C; don’t get your heart set on a specific tile or wood flooring because it could end up costing you a lot more than you thought. You can’t even imagine the range in prices on just about every item imaginable. Also, don’t get your heart set on a specific floor plan layout because you may run into issues that will not make it possible. We had to make several revisions to our floor plan.
4. If you must splurge on something then try to save on something else. If you are under your allotted allowance for a specific category then you can use it somewhere else where you know you will go over. This way things end up balancing out, well, sort of.
5. Make a list of your priorities. Sometimes the allowance you get only covers the bare minimum or the most basic package. Keep in mind; hard wood floors are most expensive followed by tile and then carpet and laminate. Your builder probably won’t include all hardwood floors in your package price. This can be a major overage.
6. Speak up, this is your house! Don’t be afraid to change your mind after you made a decision. There have been several instances where after we walked a showroom and made some decisions, I changed my mind when we got home or even after a week of thinking about it. We even decided to switch a big window in our kitchen area with the sliding door after they had installed them both and the framing was complete. Thankfully that was at no extra cost.
7. Feel free to shop around. The builder has contractors that they work with and have a strong relationship with, this is a good thing and I strongly recommend going with them because the prices they offer are pretty good. Sometimes you will find something you like more elsewhere and that’s ok too. Just keep in mind; you may have to be the one to install it. We got our kitchen sink and cabinets from different companies and because of that, the sink company will not install it for us because the cabinets are custom and they don’t want to mess it up. Our cabinet company is willing to install it for us, so no big deal.
8. Check and double check all the orders, change orders and the actual construction process. There was an instance where an incorrect item was marked by our sales person. It’s easy to correct, you just have to make sure to catch it. During the framing process, they forgot to cut out a spot for a door in the garage. No big deal, you just have to watch out for things like that.
9. Where do you want your laundry room? Our last house had it in the basement. I hated that. That made me not want to do laundry, not that I ever want to do it, it made it much more difficult. In this house, we are adding it to our second floor.
10. Take pictures of everything you choose. This way you can go back and refresh you memory because it’s easy to forget. It also helps with picking out color combinations, styles and anything else you may need. I created a folder on my iPhone where I can reference all of our selections.
There is so much to talk about when building a home, but these are the ones that really jump out. Would I recommend building a house? Sure, but it does take time, planning, lots of decision-making and self-control, which I don’t always have when it comes to pretty things. This is where my husband would come in and try to bring me back to reality. Sorry babe! I probably contributed to a few extra gray hairs in this process.
Update: Here is a post I did with a peak into our finished kitchen, A Glimpse into My Kitchen with a Splash of Fashion.
“Home is where the pants aren’t”
I hope you liked my top 10 tips in building a new house. I would love to hear any advice you may have if you have ever built before.