If you’re building a home (or planning to build), you’re probably worried about the typical things … you know, like staying on budget or making the right design decisions. But guess what? There are MANY other things you might not even realize you NEED to think about until you are already in the thick of building your home. Don’t worry … I’ve got you covered with a list of 9 things I wish I had known before building a house.
Welcome back to the Before You Build Podcast! I’m your host, Carrie Barker (a.k.a. Caroline on Design), and today in episode 3, we’re going to talk about 9 things I wish someone had told me before I built my custom home … just so I would know what to expect.
9 THINGS I WISH I HAD KNOWN BEFORE BUILDING A HOUSE
(1) YOU WILL (MOST LIKELY) GO OVER SOME ALLOWANCES
This is a tip that I’m sure you’ve heard before. I’m not saying you will necessarily go significantly over budget (we didn’t!), but you will most likely go over some allowances. We far exceeded our appliance allowance, for example, but we were under budget on cabinets so it all worked itself out.
I just want you to be prepared to go over budget in some of your allowances when building a home (especially in today’s market).
Psst … you can learn how my husband and I built our dream home without blowing the budget in my *FREE* on-demand training, 3 Crucial Steps to Build Your Dream Home Within Budget (regardless of the current home build market).
(2) VISIT YOUR WORKSITE DAILY
It’s very time-consuming to visit your home build site daily (especially if you live in a different city as I did), BUT if you want things done correctly, you NEED to oversee installations as much as possible.
If you aren’t on-site to direct electricians and other subcontractors, they will make the decisions for you. Believe me … you do NOT want them making decisions on your behalf. This is precisely how I ended up with a breakfast nook pendant that was completely uncentered. Ugh!
(3) THINGS THAT BOTHER YOU DURING YOUR BUILD WILL BECOME A DISTANT MEMORY
This is a good thing! Once you have furniture in your home, you will no longer be laser-focused on the imperfections (e.g. a small crack in your wood flooring). There WILL be imperfections (lots of them, in fact) in your new home and this is totally NORMAL!
We all assume a new home will be perfect, but it won’t be perfect (unfortunately).
The good news is that the imperfections won’t be as glaringly obvious once you furnish your home. Honestly, you’ll be SO thrilled that the build process is behind you that you probably won’t even think about the imperfections anymore.
(4) YOUR HOUSE WILL APPEAR SMALLER THAN EXPECTED DURING THE FRAMING STAGE
During the framing stage, my husband and I got a little nervous. We had conversations about whether or not our family room and bedrooms were big enough. They looked TINY at this stage.
Thankfully, our builder reassured us that this is very normal. It’s some kind of optical illusion, but once the drywall goes up, you’ll feel MUCH better about your room dimensions. Pinky promise!
(5) YOU WILL SPEND LOTS OF MONEY ON WINDOW COVERINGS
When you move into a brand new home, keep in mind that you will have no window coverings.
So be sure to include plenty of room in your budget for window treatments because even the most basic (inexpensive) window coverings can ADD UP when you are dealing with an entire home of windows.
Be prepared to spend several thousand dollars on blinds or shades (YIKES).
(6) YOU’LL ALSO SPEND LOTS OF MONEY ON YOUR YARD
Your yard will be a blank slate when you move in. I recommend sodding your entire yard if you can. We planted grass seed in our backyard and it took three years (and three planting seed tries) before our yard finally looked normal and plush.
The good news is that you can do your landscaping in stages. You can budget this out over several years … and you can do most of the work yourself to save money.
(7) INVEST IN A PORTA-POTTY (!)
Did that get your attention? I am VERY serious about this recommendation.
Guess what happens when you don’t have a porta potty (or whatever you call it in your city)? Subcontractors might use your sump pump as a urinal.
Unfortunately, this is what happened at my house while under construction and I had no idea until I started smelling the evidence. GROSS!
Just take my advice on this one :).
(8) YOUR (GORGEOUS) TRIM WORK WILL CRACK
This really made me sad (because I have a TON of trim work in my home). I had NO idea how much cracking would occur when my home ‘settled’. I do live in a climate with extreme temp variations and high humidity so I think this makes my location more susceptible to settling and expansion.
At any rate, be prepared for cracking. It WILL happen … and it will continue to happen. The first couple of years are the worst, but we still experience cracking after nine years in our home.
Thankfully your guests will NOT notice the cracks as much as you do. Also, most (reputable) builders will come back at your one-year anniversary and fix any house issues.
After the first year, it’s typically up to you, the homeowner, to remedy any issues.
(9) YOU’LL WISH YOU DID AT LEAST ONE THING DIFFERENTLY
Hopefully, you will be VERY happy with the majority of your design selections. I know that I was … actually, I’m still happy with my decisions nine years later.
However, there will probably be at least one thing you wish you had done differently.
This is totally normal and OK! Just make a mental note of what you want to do differently in a future build. I absolutely love my home, but there are a few minor things I would change if I built this home again.
Hopefully, you feel more prepared to build after reading this (lengthy) list of what I wish I had known before building a house :).
Just knowing what to look out for (and knowing that these things we discussed are NORMAL) will help you feel more confident, Plus, I hope you now realize that you need to leave plenty of room in your budget for window coverings and landscaping.
If you enjoyed this episode, I think you’ll love my *FREE* Custom Home Build Prep Guide that will help you to build your dream home with less stress, more confidence, and a strategic plan to stay on budget! Following these steps will start you on the path to a successful home build.