What do you do when you can’t quite find the house of your dreams? You build your own, of course! Building your own house can often be a lot cheaper than buying one on the market, especially if you have specific requirements and things you need your future home to accommodate.
If you’re tired of hunting for your forever home and are instead building your own from scratch, here are seven top tips you need to know.
1. Hire a Designer
Hiring a designer might seem like an expense you could do without, but they’re actually a much-needed necessity! You might know what you want your house to look like, but building a house is never as simple as drawing a picture and having a team of builders bring it to life.
It takes a lot of planning and know-how, both of which a designer can assist with. Builders can help you to an extent, but their brains are logistical rather than design focused.
An architect will have both the logistical capabilities and the eye for detail that will determine whether your end goal is achievable.
Plus, designers can end up saving you money because they will have both industry contacts and the experience to get you what you want at the lowest possible price.
2. Don’t Underestimate the Boring Bits
The fun part of building a house is painting the walls and installing new furniture, what’s not so fun are the boring bits like laying foundations and installing a damp proof course (DPC).
These seem like insignificant parts of the build, but they’re actually the most important. It’s essential that you pay just as much attention to the less glamourous parts of the build because they’re the basis for your whole house and if they’re done poorly – or if they’ve been skimmed over and missed altogether – your house won’t be livable for very long.
It’s important you invest heavily into getting the bones of your build absolutely perfect before you can move on to the interior design.
The bones might not be visible in the end, but without them, the whole building will come crashing down (literally)!
3. Know When to Push Back
No project ever goes 100% to plan and there will undoubtedly be times when you need to listen to what the professionals are telling you – even if it’s not what you want to hear.
Not everything will be possible, compromises will definitely need to be made and it’s worth remembering that the tradespeople you’ve hired are experts in their field and know what they’re talking about.
That being said, there will also be times when you need to trust your instincts and push back. If you’ve been dreaming about a certain color of tile in the bathroom or a specific shower fitting and your designer/builder is telling you it won’t work, push back.
If you really want it and it’s logistically possible, do what your gut is telling you. Sometimes, you do know best.
4. Be Prepared for Trouble
You’ve probably been told this a million times, but there will definitely be problems with the build. You might be lucky and only have minor issues, or you could be in for more than a mild inconvenience.
No one knows what’s going to happen until it happens, but when something does go wrong, remember it’s not the end of the world.
Provided you have a forward-thinking team, the patience to rethink certain things and the budget to accommodate, there’s no problem that can’t be fixed.
More so than anything, having a contingency budget is most important, so make sure you set aside a certain amount in case something goes wrong, and don’t beat yourself up if it does.
No amount of planning can prevent 100% of problems.
5. Communication is Key
It may seem obvious, but you need to ensure you clearly communicate with everyone onsite and that they too communicate with each other.
No one likes an overbearing project manager and it’s important that you trust your team to get on with the task at hand, but make sure they know to report to you regularly.
Ask for updates at the end of every day on the progress of the build, and hold morning meetings so that everyone starts the day knowing what’s expected of the day ahead.
Make yourself available at the drop of a hat – failure to answer phone calls or to speak to your team could result in unforeseen delays and problems that might be critical to the status of the build.
6. Get it in Writing
So, you’ve hired your friend’s brother’s son-in-law as a builder and a distant cousin for the plumbing. You know they’re reliable and you’ve verbally settled on rates, but you still need to get it in writing.
Create contracts for everyone who will be working onsite stating what’s expected of them, their working hours and how much they’ll be paid.
As much as you want to trust them, getting things in black and white provides you (and them) with cover should a disagreement arise.
Make sure contracts are signed in advance of the build commencing to ensure everyone knows what they’re getting in to right from the very start.
7. Don’t Bow to Social Media
Instagram and Pinterest are flooded with photos and mood boards of people’s impeccable homes, most of which follow a similar style.
Interior design is like fashion; there are trends and certain things that come around every now and again and crazes that people jump on.
Because of this, you might feel a pressure to bend your new house build to fit with current/popular styles. Well, don’t!
If you want black walls, a basic kitchen and a neutral color palette, do that. Building a house is a long slog and a painstaking process, so to end up with a house that doesn’t truly reflect you or what you like at the end of it all isn’t worth it just to please a few people online.
Make sure your house is 100% you, no matter what that style might be.
If you’re beginning your house building journey, make sure you bear these seven tips in mind – they just might save your skin!