When construction wraps up, and you put the finishing touches on your new home, you might take a few moments to think back over what you have learned about building a home yourself. You’ve absorbed an immense amount of information, both in the research you did before and during the project, advice you received from the professional with whom you worked and even the things you learned the hard way during the process. Hopefully, there weren’t many of those!
If you had to do it over again or if a friend is considering building a home and asks your for advice, is there a short list of guiding principles that guided your overall management of the project?
Listed below are [...]
To design the home of your dreams, you have three basic options: hire an architect or designer who will work with you and your general contractor; hire a design and build firm that provides design services as an integrated package, or design the home yourself with the help of a professional expert in local building codes, permitting and mechanical systems.
There are plusses, minuses, and trade-offs involved in each option. Working with an architect will increase your upfront costs, but a professional will diminish your risk of making costly mistakes or ending up with a building that falls short of your vision. If you have experience in home design, you can save a lot by using [...]
A good architect can turn your new home into a structure that does more than house your family. He or she can make it into a work of art that makes a statement about your lifestyle, the building’s physical setting or the neighboring structures.
An architect’s role can vary. They can create the design, do the drafting, select the materials and supervise the entire work process. An architect can help you keep an informed eye on the builders and make sure the project stays on track. For other projects, the architect’s role may be limited to drafting the blueprints. If you engage an architect, you will usually end up with a better end product.
Hiring the builder that will construct your new home is by far the most important decision you will make during the entire process. He or she will be your quarterback, your resident expert, your educator, your organizer and the one whose performance will determine whether your home is built on time, within budget and to the quality that you expect. Because your home is the biggest investment in your life, it’s important to choose the right builder.
Begin your search for a builder who will serve as your general contractor by understanding what the job entails. As in other businesses, many builders specialize in different aspects of the building process. Some provide design as [...]
Selecting the ideal site on which to build your home is one of the most important decisions you will make in the entire construction process. Once you have made your acquisition, there is no turning back. The right decision will lay the foundation for the homeownership experience of your dreams that includes extraordinary appreciation in value. A wrong decision can turn your dreams into a nightmare of unanticipated expense and delay, and compromises that diminish your dream.
The process of buying and building on urban and suburban sites has become more challenging over the past 50 years due to environmental priorities and the urbanization of the American landscape. [...]
Before you can start building your new custom home, you will probably need to hire a site development contractor to prepare your lot, especially if you are purchasing raw land that has not been previously developed.
Site developers clear the lot, reshape the terrain and backfill to create the landscape your new home requires. To provide access, they grade and pave roads, driveways and parking areas. They excavate basements, build footings and construct foundations. If water and sewer lines serve your lot, they can install connections. If not, they can dig wells and cesspools to service your needs.
Contractors providing site development services must be [...]