Helpful Tips When Building Your New Home
By Pam Tice
Choosing a design for your new home can be very exciting and a little overwhelming. It is important to
choose a house plan that is functional for your family and lifestyle. But this is just one of the many
important factors to keep in mind while building your new home. Here are a few important tips to
follow to ensure that there won't be any unexpected expenses or surprises.
- Your land or property: Have a qualified builder walk your lot or property to help determine whether
or not the houseplan you chose is suitable for your property. If possible bring your builder along with
you to check the property before you buy. This is very important to determine whether or not you will
need additional fill, clearing of trees, property grade for exposed basements, or positioning of septic
systems and wells, if needed. These are expenses that might not be included in your original bid or
building contract and could surprise you at the end. So ask your builder upfront about these possible
- Your builder and the contract: Make sure the bid or contract from your builder is very clear about the
products that are included in the price. If your builder gives allowances for things such as the cabinetry,
flooring, and lighting, ask him if the allowances include installation. The "allowances" is an area that is
often underpriced to make the bid look more price appealing. If possible, spend a day pricing certain
lighting items like chandeliers and pendant lighting (http://www.barnesandwagner.com/hangingfixtures.
html), or flooring such as hardwood and ceramic tile to get a good idea if the allwoances are
enoughto cover the quality of product you plan on having in your home.
- Signed Lien Waivers: In addition to the down payment that most builders will require to start the job,
funds are typically distributed to the builder in the form of "draws" for work completed. Make sure your
builder receives signed lien waivers from each of his subcontractors for work completed to date. The
signed lien waivers are very important because they let you know that the subcontractors have been
paid and that they won't put a lien against your home for payment.
- Change Orders: If you make any changes to the original contact with your builder, get it confirmed in
writing with how much it will cost to make the change. Sorry, but a gentlemens' handshake is not good
- Insurance on Day One: Talk to your insurance agent and let him know when you will be starting
construction on your new home. Verify with your builder that he and his workers are properly insured as
well. If he does not provide insurance for his workers, ask him if he has received Certificates of Worker's
Comp insurance from his subcontractors.
The most important rule to follow when building your new home is to follow your instincts. If something
sounds too good to be true, it is. If you have to be "talked" into anything, don't do it. Ask your builder
for references of customers, subcontractors and vendors. If he won't give them to you, move on and
find another builder. Building a new home is one of the most expensive decisions you will ever
make....and you should have the peace of mind while building it.