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10 Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make When Building a Home and How to Avoid Them

10 BIGGEST MISTAKES HOMEOWNERS MAKE WHEN BUILDING A HOME AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
A house under construction by United Architects
  • Unrealistic budget.  Get an idea of prices from a contractor before starting with an architect and then discuss this with your architect.  Get prices from a contractor after doing a preliminary design, before the construction documents are completed.

 

  • Sacrifice durability for price.  Look at the materials carefully before picking out a particular material.  Do research.

 

  • Sacrifice price on the wrong items.Don’t save on A/C units by going with a lower SEER value.  Don’t use carpet if you can pay for tile.  If you live in coastal US, do not build with wood frame, if you can afford concrete and concrete block.

 

  • Do not check out a general contractor with enough thoroughness.  Get references and go see some of the jobs they have completed. 

 

  • Site the home the wrong way – in other words, have large expanses of glass on the west side of the home in Florida.  Hire an architect who understands siting.

 

  • Do not hire the architect to oversee the drafting of the construction contract or to oversee the construction itself.  Hire an architect who will help you with both.

 

  • Fail to select materials on a timely basis and end up delaying the construction work.  This is very important.  It could have legal and costly ramifications.   Do the research early.  Ask the contractor for a list of items to be picked out by the owner and when he needs them.  Clarify in the contract whose responsibility it is to pick up, install, and deliver the items.

 

  • Forget to budget for things not in the contract, such as, landscaping, etc.  Make sure there are contingency monies for these things.  Make sure you have an idea of what the city or county is going to require outside your property line.  For example, is the county going to ask for a larger water or sewer line?  Are they going to ask you to improve the sidewalk?  Are they going to ask your for street trees.

 

  • Pick out inappropriate materials.  Ask your architect and contractor about their experience with a particular material.

 

  • Cannot clearly communicate what he/she wants to the architect.  Before contacting an architect of contractor, make sure you know what you want to do, or at least have an idea for discussion.

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