You are driving down a busy highway on a pleasant Saturday afternoon. Every couple of miles, you see signs for new housing developments getting ready to spring up. You’re ready to build by the time you get home. Before you make an appointment to meet with one of the builders, step back and make sure building is something you really want to do.
Choosing to build a new home is exhilarating. Just the excitement of having a new house built to your standards is enough to leave you excited for weeks. But take it from people who have been through the experience. That excitement quickly wears off.
Building a home is no small undertaking. Whether you choose a tract home or you want to buy your own land and pay for a custom build, you are in for a huge project unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. There are plenty of things to consider before you make the decision to break ground.
1. The Time Commitment
Perhaps the hardest lesson for home buyers to learn is that building a home requires a tremendous time commitment. Do not expect your new home to be ready to occupy in just 8 to 10 weeks. It doesn’t work that way.
The best you can hope for in a tract environment is 4 to 6 months. If you are going custom build, expect 6 to 10 months. Also understand that delays happen. Everything from weather to supply chain problems slows construction down.
2. The Financial Commitment
Second only to the time commitment is the financial commitment. You may budget so much money, but do not be surprised when you are faced with cost overruns. The chances are pretty good that you will either have to spend more than you originally planned, or you will have to cut out some of the extras. Don’t plan to get everything you want for the budget you initially settled on.
As a side note, do not expect your construction loans to cover everything, either. They cover all the big things, but you’re going to spend extra running to the hardware store to buy little things. Some sandpaper here and a few fixtures there really add up.
3. Your Ability to Handle Stress
If you already do not handle stress very well, you might want to reconsider building. Home construction is stressful from start to finish. First and foremost, there are tons of decisions to be made. You and your partner may not agree on much, if anything at all. Your disagreements could easily turn into major fights.
You are also going to be stressed out dealing with your builder, your bank, all the subcontractors, and on and on. The stress of dealing with your local bureaucracy will only make things worse.
4. Architect and Builder Matter
If you are building a tract home, you likely won’t be dealing with an architect. But outside of a tract, it matters that you choose an architect and builder capable of working with one another. The two constantly being at odds will only make billing your home more difficult.
Sparano + Mooney, a Utah architectural firm located in Park City, recommends starting with your architect. Choose the architectural firm based on whatever criteria is important to you. That firm can then recommend a list of builders.
Needless to say, building a home is not a picnic. It might be well worth it if you have the time, money, and enthusiasm to see the process through. On the other hand, you might want to avoid building if you are already having enough trouble keeping things together.