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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 to work with an architect and then discuss this with your architect.  However, most contractors will not give you a firm price, or even a very realistic price until the plans are finished.
    It is important to build contingencies in the budget.

     

  • 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.  In Miami, the customary material is concrete block and concrete.  Do not plan on building a wood framed house in Miami. 

 

  • 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.  This 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 you for street trees.
     

  • Forget to budget for exterior living spaces.  The outside in Miami is very important.  We have wonderful weather from October
    to May.  A nice trellis area or covered terrace would be very useful in Miami.  It's important to remember these areas in the budget.

 

  • 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.  Also, be flexible.  Architects are experts in design and construction.  If you come with an idea, but the architect has a different idea, listen to him/her and discuss the possibilities.  If you come to the meetings with the architect with a preconceived notion, you will likely get inferior work from the architect. Architects should not impose their ideas on you, but you should not impose your ideas on him/her either.

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