October 2, 2015
[These are just a few of our pictures thus far into our process! Isn’t Worm so cute, I mean, look at him cutting his eyes! #justlikehismomma LOL]
For the past few years, it has been Jay and I’s dream to build a home. However, at such a young age we never thought that it could be in the cards for us. Thankfully, we have been blessed with some incredible friends and family to help us out along the way and make this dream a reality.
Although it’s still a little early in the game [we are only about to dig the footer], we have already learned so much! I want to document this process and share as many helpful tips with you and lessons learned as I can. In order to be fair, I think that I should start by saying just how organized and efficient Jay is. If you know me personally, you know that I can’t really say the same for myself [I’m working on that though]. But, Jay is incredible when it comes to things like this, so if anything, he has taught me a few lessons!
Here are a few important lessons/tips we have learned so far:
Don’t Settle For Less
Before we knew that we would be able to build our house, we looked at so many houses to buy. It seemed as if everyone had something we didn’t like or it would just cost so much to fix it up that it wasn’t worth the investment. We even found a house that we loved [God was really watching over us, because I have a feeling we would have been miserable in that house], and we were even beginning the process of buying it then the realtor realized that someone else had already put a contract on it! Let’s just say home building and buying is not a stress-less process.
Anyways, my point here is Don’t Settle for Less than what you want. We had so many opportunities to give in and settle, but for some reason we didn’t- or us trying to settle didn’t work out. It doesn’t matter if you are choosing the house you want to buy, just picking out a paint color, or dealing with contractors. Don’t settle for something you are not in love with, just to hurry the process. Most things are worth the wait. I’m not saying that you have to buy the most expensive appliances and have paint that is scented, I’m just saying that if you want something specific, don’t give up on that. One way or the other, I’m sure you can find a way to accommodate it!
Make a List of “Must Haves“
After we purchased our land, we began looking at house plans and discussing everything we wanted to be included. As we continued discussing, we began making a list of things we couldn’t live without. From the floorpan, to what we wanted the doors to look like. Jay and I made a list of the rooms we wanted, what was important to us, and even noted some things that were not as important to us. That way we were able to see what each of us wanted in our house and begin to work to accommodate both of our needs/wants. For me, I wanted a nice kitchen that was open to the living room and a big closet. Jay was concerned about the garage and making sure that it was big enough to fit his truck. I’m glad he was thinking of the technicalities because once we started talking about the closet, I completely forgot about everything else. Jay has definitely been more ground and realistic than I have, and for that I am very thankful.
It is important to establish what you want [early in the game], before you start looking at house plans. This will help make things easier for you and help to weave out the plans and styles that won’t fit your needs!
Do Your Research
If I had to give you only one tip, this would be it. While the others are all really important and can be so helpful, I would consider this tip essential. Do your homework and some research too. Whether your are going around to suppliers, searching Pinterest all day, or talking to a few people that have built their own house, do some research. Find out what people consider their must have options in their home. What do they use the most or the least? What would they do differently? What contractors would they use again and which one’s would they never use? Talking to different people can be one of the best things you will ever do! Jay has a good friend that he has basically asked every question you could imagine. We have adjusted things based on what people have told us and found some amazing contractors, with great prices!
My mom has been s huge help because she went through this whole process when building our house. One of my main concerns when we started working with our house plans was the back porch. I wanted french doors along the back of the house and that wasn’t a problem with our floor plan. However, based on experience my mom said that we need to have a covered porch of some sort, or the french doors would leak water when it rained [she learned that the hard way, unfortunately]. So we had to go in and add a balcony on the second story that would cover the part of the lower porch that had the french doors. If we didn’t know that, we would have to include additional time into our construction time by adding a porch later, in addition to whatever damage could have been caused by the water. So, if I can provide you with one tip it is to do a little research before you start!
Always Follow Up
If your bank, realtor, contractor or anyone else you are dealing with says that they will call you back, it’s always a good idea to follow up with them. Not that they aren’t good, trustworthy people, or are just ignoring you, but everyone these days is so busy, they often forget to return your phone call. If Jay and I had a dollar for every time someone said they would call us when our paperwork, or permit, was ready we probably wouldn’t need a mortgage! Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration [haha]. But, in all seriousness, it’s always a good idea to follow up. Chances are someone probably meant to call you and it just slipped their mind, or they were going to wait until the next day to get in touch with you. Trust me when I tell you, if your permit is ready you are probably going to want to go get it as soon as you can. We have been so excited to get our permits because that just means we are one step closer to getting something on our list accomplished! It’s also really good to follow up because you might be missing something and the sooner you get it, the sooner the problem is solved!
Create a Home Book/Schedule
For your personal reference, I think it is great to have a home book. Jay and I are beginning to slowly fill ours up with quotes, invoices, receipts, inspirational pictures and hopefully we will soon have some progress pictures! I still go through my moms to get ideas for our house! Whenever I find something in a magazine that I like, I am able to tear it our and put it right into my binder [in a sheet protector of course, because I’m Type A]. It’s also a great way to keep your permits organized and track about how much money you have spent. We have been getting multiple quotes from different suppliers, and contractors, and we are able to keep them all organized in our binder. We are hoping to soon have a schedule/calendar of our progress that way we can reference how long something took and/or schedule the next thing to be done. Whether your book is strictly cost focused or you have a mixture of inspirational pieces and other things, it’s always nice to have to refer back to one day and keep yourself organized throughout the process!
I hope that you enjoyed this post, something a little different from the usual. If you would like more posts like this, documenting our home building process or just tips in general, please let me know as I would love to share them with you!
Building a House: Tips for Starting Out