Building a new home comes with a string of emotions ranging from excitement to complete stress. Things can and will go wrong, so it’s imperative that you prepare for those outcomes before getting in over your head on a project. Construction takes time and money, both of which you need to be willing to provide to get the best outcome. Rushing a timeline can lead to costly mistakes which you will pay for later on, so doing things right the first time is crucial. You never want to get yourself in a situation where your project becomes a money pit that you are no longer excited for, but even worse, one you can’t afford to complete.
Acting as your own general contractor.
Unless you are a trained professional, being your own general contractor is not the best idea. General contractors have good relationships with other trades such as plumbers, sheetrock and concrete finishers, electricians, etc. All of these trades make their living from repeat business with certain general contractors, so they will ensure that the best work is completed on your project. Additionally, if you are on a tight schedule, the general contractor will continue to keep the project on track and coordinate the different professionals coming in to work on the various moving parts of the build.
A general contractor could also save you some money in your budget because the sub-contractor will want to keep their working relationship with the general contractor. As the client, the sub-contractor can charge you a higher price because once their job is done, they move on to the next. With their working relationship with the general contractor, they might be a little more malleable regarding what they would charge you for their services.
Probably one of the most important reasons for not being your own general contractor is that you do not possess the knowledge to properly monitor the quality of work being done on your build. If a serious error is made you won’t know until it’s much too late and by that time the people who made the mistake already have your money and they won’t be returning to fix it. A general contractor would have to pay to have this corrected, thus making the people working on the job people they would need to trust to do things right the first time.
Cutting corners with your budget.
Let’s face it, we all like the idea of not spending a lot of money, especially when it comes to building and renovations. There are smart ways to stay on/under budget and then there are ways to cheapen your project. You don’t have to go overboard with high priced materials, but when it comes to structure and other important elements of your build, it’s important that you spend the extra money to make sure your home is safe.
The last thing you want is to be quoted low for a build, only to have extra fees added on, leading to more time and money than you even wanted to spend.
Not deciding on your needs prior to the build.
Before you begin your build, think about what you truly want/need in your home. Knowing what you plan on getting out of the project is important to decide on from the start. Once the plans have been made and building begins, it becomes harder to change and add things. Particularly it can become frustrating for those doing the work as now they must reconfigure previous plans which could influence your bottom line.
For instance, if you know you want to start a family in the future, be sure to include extra bedrooms. If you plan on having your elderly parents come live with you at some point, putting in the extra space for them is something to think about from the very beginning. You can always choose lower grade carpet, cabinets, and windows to save on the budget and then plan out upgrading them at a later date.
Eliminating the use of house/building plans.
A good set of plans is imperative for a strong build. You don’t want to hand over some plans you drew on a napkin and expect your contractor to turn it into your dream house. Yes, buying plans are a bit expensive, and it may seem like you saved money right out of the gate. But you would be wrong in assuming that this truly saved you money because so many mistakes are made without plans. Additionally, when mistakes are made, and there are no plans to refer to that extra cost to fix whatever problems arise is on you. Furthermore, you can’t get an accurate cost estimate for building a house without plans, you can’t get an estimate of materials, nor can you get an estimate on labor costs. Everything is left up to chance, and you could end up severely over budget before you even begin.