Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Custom Home

Published June 1, 2023

Building a custom home is an exciting endeavor. However, embarking on a big project like this can be complex and demanding, requiring careful planning and attention to detail. To ensure a successful outcome, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can lead to unnecessary costs, delays, and frustrations. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when building your custom home:

Waiting to contact your lender

Before you contact an architect or a builder, contact your lender and get pre-approved for a construction loan. When homeowners wait until they are well into the process of planning and design, sometimes they discover that they can’t borrow enough to fund their project and they have to make significant revisions to their plans or even start over from the beginning. The lending process can take some time, sometimes up to 60 days, so it’s a good idea to give your lender as much time as possible so that your progress is not delayed.

Not properly vetting your builder

You will be working with your builder for the better part of a year or more while you design, plan, and build your home, so it is very important to make sure that you and your builder are a good fit for each other! Take time to research builders that build the type of home that you want to build – if you want to build a $1M home, don’t contact the builder who specializes in starter homes. You should check out their website, look at their homes in person, speak with clients that they are currently building for, speak with clients that have lived in their home for five to ten years, and believe it or not, speak with some of their vendors and subcontractors to see how well the builder manages the money that you will be entrusting him with! Look to see how long they have been building, how many homes they have completed, check with the Better Business Bureau to see what their rating is, and ask them if they have ever been involved in any lawsuits.

Hiring an architect to complete your house plans without engaging a builder

You can spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars working with an architect to design the home of your dreams, and then unfortunately see your dreams come crashing down when the builders’ bids far exceed your budget. If you do not have a set of completed house plans, then the best scenario would be to engage a custom home builder that has a design-build company – this is a builder who has an architect or a draftsman and an interior designer on the team. As you work with their team to design your home, they will be cognizant of your budget as the home is being designed and will keep you apprised of the estimated cost of construction throughout the plan design process so that there are never any surprises! This process can take a little longer sometimes, but in the end it will save you time, money, and a lot of headaches!

Failing to Plan for Future Needs

While designing your custom home, it’s crucial to consider your future needs and potential lifestyle changes. Ensure your home has the flexibility to adapt to evolving circumstances, such as a growing family or changing accessibility requirements. Think about the long term and incorporate features like versatile spaces, ample storage, and universal design principles to make your home functional and comfortable for years to come.

A lack of effective communication

How long did you have to wait to get a returned call or email from the builder you contacted? How long did you have to wait to get an estimate? These are some early warning signs that you must pay attention to, if you find yourself waiting to be contacted or if the communication that you have with your builder isn’t clear and effective, don’t expect things to improve as you progress further into the building process. You should determine how effective your builder’s communication is BEFORE you commit to build with them, and you can get a good idea of this by doing the following. Ask the builders that you interview who is going to be overseeing the construction of your home? How often will this superintendent or manager be on site? How often will that person contact you regarding the construction progress, and what methods will they use? Does the builder use an online project management platform that gives you access to view the schedule, photos, change orders, selections, and other information specific to your job? How to they document and authorize changes during construction? Effective and comprehensive communication is the key to a successful building project!

Building a custom home is a thrilling adventure that allows you to create a living space perfectly tailored to your preferences. By avoiding common mistakes, you can streamline the process and ensure a successful outcome.

With careful consideration and attention to detail, LaFollette can help you build a custom home can become a sanctuary that brings joy and contentment for many years to come. With us as your partner, you can begin the custom home-building process with confidence! Give us a call at 979-822-6055 or contact us at Info@LFcustomhomes.com for a consultation.



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