Tips for Building a Custom home
Is there anything more satisfying than walking through the door of a new home that you helped design? On the other hand, staring down at a blank floor map can lead to a labyrinth of questions, headaches, and regrets. That’s why we’ve collected the top screw-ups people make when building their dream home from scratch so you can bypass these snafus yourself and move into a place that fits your vision—to a T!
Mistake No. 1: Expecting your developer to give you all the ideas
Homebuilders follow your lead—not the other way around. So if you're not exactly sure what you want your home to look like, they may steer you toward the usual tried-and-true stuff, whether that's a formal dining room or a standard-size upstairs master bedroom. But Tim Costello, CEO of Builder Homesite in Austin, TX, calls this a new owner’s “biggest pitfall, " resulting in a custom house that somehow feels generic.
“The whole joy of buying new is that you can actually customize it, ” says Costello. "So come with inspiration. What homes—or unusual home features—have you seen that you really liked?” Find photos of homes in magazines that make you swoon, then show them to your developers to give them an idea of your needs and desires.
Mistake No. 2: Getting lost in the details
The nitty-gritty of building a house can be intimidating. There are numerous decisions to make, from massive (deciding where to erect walls) to minuscule (picking light fixtures). This overload of choices can short-circuit some buyers' brains so they become paralyzed, unable to make any decision at all.
To avoid facing 100 overwhelming questions about bathtubs and windows in one sitting, ask your builder to set up a personalized website, allowing decisions to be made at your leisure. No website? Simply create a binder with your architect and/or builder where choices are organized room by room, step by step.
Compartmentalizing the building process will help you keep moving forward.
Mistake No. 3: Forgetting to request built-in furniture
One of the major perks of building a home is that your contractor can, well, build things into it—everything from shelves to entertainment centers—that will blend in seamlessly with the walls and floor. But since many homeowners are accustomed to buying this kind of furniture when they move into a used home, this option often gets overlooked. And that's a crying shame.