Design – Build – Custom – Homes – Renovations – Additions – Remodels

Common Mistakes When Building a Custom Home

Building a custom home can be a great experience. You get to go through the entire process from dreaming to planning to watching it come together before your eyes. Most of the time it’s a smooth procedure but every once and a while someone makes a huge mistake and wind up kicking themselves later.


Learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before you and make your home building experience as pleasant as possible. There are a lot of benefits to building a custom home as opposed to buying an existing home that we talk about here.


Now, settle in and enjoy exploring what can go wrong so you can make sure everything goes right.


Mistake #1

Buying a Lot Before Figuring Out the Amount of Site Prep it Will Need Before Building Can Begin

A lot of folks pick out which lot they want long before they’re ready to actually start building. The conversations often involve features of the lot such as waterfront views, privacy, and proximity to schools, shopping centers, and freeway onramps. What is often not immediately considered is the little things that will make the land buildable. It can be quite an investment to:

  • Run water, sewer, electric, and gas lines to the future location of the home.
  • Excavate the area and install the necessary water drainage.
  • Clear trees to make room for the house, driveway, and yard features.
  • Purchase the required zoning permits from the city.


There’s no need for these costs to come as a surprise. You can plan ahead and get a feasibility analysis done before you buy a lot. This way you will know exactly what you’re getting into.


If you find yourself at this point in the process and would like a feasibility test, please contact us today to discuss the details. We are happy to meet with you at your lot to go over the work that will have to be done in order to build including an estimate of the costs.


Mistake #2

Building a Home That Doesn’t Go Well With the Plot

Every lot has its own characteristics and personality. When you’re planning a custom home the features of the lot are very important. It can be foolhardy to grab any old house plan and pop it down on a lot without considering the nuances and long term results.


There could be things that are easy to overlook. For instance, consider that you’ve always wanted solar panels your whole life but your lot is on the shady side of a hill and only gets sun a few hours of the day. Your solar panels won’t put out very much energy.


Or, maybe there’s a homeowners association that you need to get approval from in order to build the house you want. Some cities even limit the size of homes that can be built. Knowing these limitations ahead of time could be valuable.


A local home builder will be able to make sure you’re aware of all the nuances that go along with building in the area. They’ll also know the right questions to ask in order to make sure you’re getting the lot you want. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience early in the process in order to avoid these types of headaches.


Mistake #3

Building a Custom Home Without Using Green Building Methods

In 2019 it’s hard to ignore the impact we have on our environment. Living a clean and efficient life is a luxury we have in America that isn’t afforded to most of the world. We would do well to take advantage of that. But, it’s not just about saving the environment. It’s also about cutting our long-term energy costs.


Green building standards have come a long way in the last decade. Homes are being built using state of the art materials and methods that make homes easier to heat, cool, and maintain. How nice would it be to cut your energy bills in half? Even small monthly savings add up to big savings in the long run.


Some might be concerned about sacrificing the style of a home to make it green. Fortunately for them, they don’t have to. Most green building changes happen under the hood or behind the scenes. High-efficiency windows, spray-foam insulation, and high-efficiency HVAC systems are all major contributors to an energy-efficient home. The only thing you’ll notice is that the temperature doesn’t fluctuate as much and the air is cleaner. There are also green building methods found in landscaping such as using safe methods of weed control and fertilization. As technology progresses, the options are expanding when it comes to green building.


Green building done right can have lasting effects on the health of your body as well as your pocketbook. At Spartan Homes Inc we incorporate green building strategies into every home we build.


Mistake #4

Considering Budget Too Late in the Process

Budget. This word makes some people uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t. A budget is what it is and dictates the means available to construct the project at hand.  Starting in on a project before identifying the budget is like leaving on a road trip without knowing how much gas you have. Trust me, you don’t want to run out of gas halfway to your destination!


It’s smart to discuss budget with your contractor as early in the process as possible. I’ve seen it before. A project starts with an interior designer and they do their best to make the design as creative and amazing as possible. By the time a builder comes into the picture the design is already way over budget and has to be cut down to size, simultaneously cutting the level of excitement around building the home.


On the flip side, the professionals you work with may think you are on a lower budget than you are and limit the ideas they suggest to meet that imaginary budget. Either way, it’s best to enter the situation with your budget flag held high. This sets the expectations from the beginning and doesn’t waste any time.


Mistake #5

Not Doing Their Due Diligence When Hiring a Builder or Contractor

Unfortunately, not every contractor is created equal. Building a home is a long-term commitment for the homeowner as well as the general contractor. Like any relationship, it’s important to test the waters before committing to anything major. Here are some standard things you can check on when deciding whether or not you want to work with someone.

  1. Are they licensed and insured in your state?
  2. Are they firmly established in the area and have been around for a while?
  3. Do they specialize in building the type of house you want?
  4. Do they have a verifiable track record for finishing on time and on a budget?
  5. Do they have verifiable references that you can check before you hire them?


If a general contractor nails all these points then chances are they are legitimate. The next test is communication. Do they answer the phone when you call? If you leave a message, how long does it take for them to get back to you? Looking at little signals like this can give you an idea on what it will be like later on when you are calling to find out what the status is on the cabinets you ordered.


If you check all the boxes and verify their references, then you have done a good job at vetting your potential home builder. The little bit of extra effort in the beginning can result in you having a great contractor for life and avoid the bad apples that are scattered around.


In Conclusion

I hope these 5 tips and tricks are helpful for you in getting started towards building your dream home. At the very least you are now privy to some of the things that can go wrong so you can be sure to take the necessary steps to make them go right. Good luck!

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