Everyone who has ever built will tell you not to ever do it. I have to admit that there have been occasions where I felt the same way. The end result is very rewarding despite the obstacles that you will have to overcome. One of the greatest benefits of building is to create a property that reflects your purpose, whether it’s an investment or catering the needs of your family or your lifestyle. Here are my top tips based on my experience:
1. Research and Investigate
This should be everyone’s first and most significant step in the process of building your home. The research process is like 'The Hunger Games' you can only survive if you get to the best resources first. Timing is important, you don’t want to discover something about the land you purchased AFTER signing the contract. Interrogate the real estate agent or developer. Discuss the purchase with a lawyer. Speak to your financial adviser. Find a broker.
2. Have a budget and then add $50k.
There will always be unexpected expenses. It is almost impossible to predict everything that could go wrong or consider every little aspect when building a house. If you actually stick to your budget, you’ll be one of the few lucky duckies that will have $50k in the bank at the end of it.
3. Be Strong. Negotiate.
It is sometimes difficult, especially for young couples and first home buyers, to negotiate the terms with your builder. Remember, they are profiting hundreds of thousands so you’re not being unreasonable when you request some extra drainage or air con. Your builder must pay penalty rates to you if they do not finish the house on time. Try and negotiate these terms by making sure they pay fair rates if they’re late. This will put pressure on the builders to keep on schedule.
4. Be meticulous, even if you’re bordering crazy.
If you have the opportunity to observe the building process every day, go every day. Snap photos of things that might look a little off or unexpected. If you can afford it, hire an independent inspector because they will identify things that you won’t. Remember to record everything in writing and send them to your builder.
More likely than not, you’ll be playing ‘Catch me if you can’ with your building supervisor, especially when there is an issue to be rectified. Don’t be shy. Use all the communication mediums available to you: face to face, letters, text, call, email, photos, Facebook, telepathy…etc. This will probably one of the largest investments you will make and there is no room for sloppy work or delay.
6. Three Quotes Rule
If you haven’t contracted your builder to complete it ALL, you will still have things left to do at the post-construction stage (like driveways and landscaping). Get no less than three quotes. You’ll be surprised how some items vary.
7. Pause. De- Stress. Re-Start. You’ll Get There!
Sometimes, when everything is just not going the way you imagined, you need to stop, slow down breathe and re-start. Nothing amazing ever comes without hard work. You will reach the light (and your dream home) at the end of the tunnel and it will be so worth it.