If you are building a home and this is your first time, there are a number of things you need to know. They are just simple tips and advice that will ensure that your plans to construct your own home all by yourself ends up a successful venture.
For a first time builder, the decision you’ve taken to construct your own is a wonderful idea and you’ll soon find it will be one of the greatest commitments you’ve ever made. However, it’s best to hear some advice from those who’ve built their own dream homes, as you’ll have first-hand information that will be of great benefit to you.
Please note that the following tips for first time home builders are presented in an order you can follow, but not necessarily in their order of priority.
10 Tips and Advice for First Time Builders
- Prepare a Well Detailed Budget Plan
Before you do anything at all, it is important to draw up a simple budget for the financial aspect of your building project. This is the only way to know if you can comfortably afford to go into this venture.
Include costs for possible bank interest charges and don’t forget to plan for an alternative accommodation (if required) while the building project is going on.
Also, ensure you allow for a contingency amount in your budget. Building construction can be ‘tricky’ at times because there is always the possibility of unexpected expenses and/or extra building costs that may arise somewhere along the line.
- Find Out Details About the Plot of Land Before You Buy It
When buying land to build on, it’s good to be aware of the fact that virgin land can sometimes conceal all manner of problems. So, before you buy a piece of land, get a commissioned solicitor to help check that the land is fine.
This is very important, so, ‘dig deep’ because you may never know. You don’t want to end up with extra costs or other reasons that may prevent construction altogether.
A solicitor, a land surveyor, or a structural engineer can inspect the land to ensure that it is suitable for building. At this point of inspection, the engineer can recommend the type of foundation that will be appropriate.
- Develop the Site to Tie With its Environment
If a future decision to resell arises, then thinking well-ahead about the resale value is important. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to erect a luxury home on a street with not-so-luxurious houses because it may become difficult to resell.
- Consult a Planning Expert
If you designed the home all by yourself or purchased your blueprints online, before you submit your plans for consent, please consult a planning expert. He/she will advise you and let you know whether you’ll likely get a building consent for your new home, or not.
Experts in the field include professional builders, architects, or the local authority planning officers themselves.
To avoid refusal of planning permission, taking this step is best. You don’t want to invest your time or money on blueprints and later discover there’ll be complications.
Complications translates to delays and loss of budgeted funds.
- Draw Up a Construction Schedule
Once you’ve got your designs and a detailed budget is done, you can now prepare a construction schedule. This schedule will detail things like which set of workers are needed at a particular time, when they are needed, when to purchase relevant building materials, and when such materials should be on site.
It should also show when tasks must begin and their expected time of completion.
- Prepare a Cash Flow Chart
When the building schedule is ready, you’ll know when you will need labour and when to buy materials and as the project progresses, you can mark down which expenses have to be met and when.
Now, you can use this information to prepare a cash flow chart which will help you assess how much funds are required at any stage of the project.
- Try Not to Take on Too Much by Yourself
As this is your first attempt at building your own home, don’t try to take on too many responsibilities by yourself no matter how tempting it may be. Only do tasks you are capable of doing and those you are skilful at.
It is better to leave expert decisions to the professionals working on the site. Doing too many tasks by yourself is uneconomical and can cause expensive mistakes and unnecessary delays.
- Materials and Workforce on Site
Required materials and the workforce must be on site as and when needed. Your building schedule will detail what you need and when you need them so make sure that the materials you order for, and commissioned skilled workers are on site at the right time.
Any savings you make is dependent on strict efficiency. This translates to making sure there are no delays by having to wait for materials to get to site, or site workers being late or not turning up on site.
- Negotiate for Favourable Estimates
Don’t be afraid to negotiate the prices of materials and labour costs. What you end up saving depends on how well you’ve negotiated prices and this includes the price of your plot of land and all other resources that will go into the building project.
With building materials, it is currently a buyers market, so go ahead, shop around, and make sure you ‘haggle’ well.
- Get a Full Building Insurance Cover
Be sure to take out private building insurance to cover your liability costs on site, and the health and safety oy your workforce. Insurance must also cover things like building materials, plants, and machinery.
You must also arrange some kind of warranty on your new home. As an owner builder, ensure you are well covered and try not to get tempted to buy because the price of insurance cover is cheap. You may live to regret that decision.
To Inspire You and Set You On the Right Path . . .
If you need ideas to boost your imagination and open your mind to vast possibilities of creativity in terms of both your interior and exterior design, get some inspiration through books you can buy on Amazon, magazines like Homes and Gardens and House Beautiful, and from online sites like Houzz and HGTV.
These mediums are quite visual and will help you considerably. You can add the cost of a couple of these mediums to your home building project. You won’t regret it and will do well to have it.
Through a good number of them, you will discover how to find the best site, obtain financing, hire the right contractor, cut design and construction costs, and avoid common mistakes. Examples include the following:
A Round-up Of Tips and Advice
Now that you are ready to construct your dream home, let me summarise the tips and advice I have mentioned
- You know what you want
- You have found your desired plot of land
- You have planned well in advance
- You have sought advice from relevant professionals in the building industry
- You have budgeted well, knowing your financial standing
- You’ve got your drawing plans from your architect or purchased design and blueprints online
And now that you’ve got the necessary building approvals, you can now commence building your home; your dream property that will meet your needs and enhance your lifestyle.