From Smart to Finish…
- Hire the right professionals. Your team from the beginning phases of your project should include: You as the future homeowner, an architect or home designer, your chosen builder and an interior designer. These professionals have successfully completed similar projects, and can share with you their insights and knowledge to help educate you along the way. The right professionals can relieve stress, save time, and money. Your determining factor in hiring each professional should come down to trust…do you trust them professionally, and do you trust them making decisions for you? Try not to focus on bids or money at this stage. The wisest financial decision is to hire a professional team that you can trust. You may want to involve other professionals as the project develops, such as landscape architects or vendors key to the project. For example, if you have dreamed of natural stone set in an intricate design, a designer or representative from a trusted stone company may be helpful as part of your ‘team’.
- Know your budget. Be realistic and honest about the amount of money you want to spend on your custom home. Communicate your budget with your team of professionals BEFORE the plans are finalized. Reserve money for furniture, custom window treatments, area rugs, and custom finish items that may not be included in the construction budget allowance through the builder. Reserve cash on hand for changes and unexpected expenses that may come up during the construction process. KNOW the reality of the allowance budget your builder has given you, and understand where you should and shouldn’t expect to pay for upgrades as you finalize finishes. The exact same home, built by the exact same builder, on the exact same lot, can range from $180-$350/sq. ft. Based on the selection of cabinetry, flooring and other finishes.
- Preserve your investment through great planning on paper. Spend time and money in the paper phase to avoid costly changes during the construction process. Know your plans, commit to your plans and spend time in the paper stage. Clients are often so anxious to get started on construction that they speed through the important planning process. Concentrating on, and not rushing through, the paper stage can also be the one step that can potentially save a client the most money. Lean on your team of professionals to help you understand your plans, the layout, and to visualize your future home. You may want to invest in professional renderings and other additional interior design services to help you to properly visualize the scale and design.
- Get involved, but know when to step back. The best homes are built WITH the clients. It can be an enjoyable process for everyone. The key is to be excited about your new home but not to micromanage the project. Give your professional team the opportunity to fulfill their responsibilities and to utilize their expertise and talents. If you do see problems or have concerns, especially as you walk the site during construction, simply email your team. Let your team handle the concerns or educate you about what you see.
- In every great project something will go wrong. There is no such thing as a perfect home or a perfect construction project. Inevitably there will be set-backs, unforeseen conditions, discontinued products, back ordered ship dates, a wall that is one inch off, etc. A successful construction process from start to finish is more about managing the expectations and solving problems, than about being perfect. A great builder will help you through those hiccups and will present great solutions.