Are you in the process of building or renovating your dream home? I am so excited for you! It is a huge accomplishment in life to be able to say that you are building your dream home. But it can also be very overwhelming if you aren’t prepared for all of the decisions you have to make.
When I work with clients who are building or renovating their dream home, they use me to guide them through the process, helping make decisions and navigate the contractors requests. Over the years I have found that there are several key elements to ensuring a smooth building process and I’d like to share them with you.
- Start with the end in mind. – When you begin building a home, the contractor is going to ask you for lots of different decisions, right off the bat. They will want your appliance selections, plumbing fixtures, where you want to wire for light fixtures and all of your windows and doors. How are you supposed to know this if you haven’t thought about what you want the finished product to look like? When I am working with clients during the build process, we always design the whole house first, then break it down in to the chunks the contractor needs. The design process and the building process are somewhat opposites in their timelines so in order not to hold up the building process, you really have to design the whole house first in order to make timely choices.
- Have Pinterest boards. – And lots of them! I recommend 1 for each room including outdoor living spaces and the exterior. These boards really help with #1 and if you aren’t working with a designer during the build process, they will allow you to articulate your wishes with your contractor.
- Pre-price your choices so you can set a realistic budget. – This is HUGE! The #1 most disappointing part of building your dream home is realizing that either you or your contractor wasn’t realistic in what you could get for your money. If you want that absolutely stunning waterjet stone mosaic in your primary bathroom, research how much it is going to cost before you get your heart set on it! Want an Ilve stove or quartzite counter tops? Make some calls and find out pricing. Beautiful interiors do not come cheap!
- Pay attention to how you live currently. – Do you have kids and pets who leave their stuff (aka dirt and clutter) everywhere? Is your pantry too small for all of the Costco trips you make? Do you typically host house guests and they end up sleeping on air mattresses? These are all factors to consider when you are designing your dream home. Make the pantry bigger. Measure the one you have so you know what size is too small. Add an extra guest bedroom or incorporate pull out sofas in spaces of your new home.
- Get comfortable with spreadsheets. – Yes, I know! It stinks! But staying organized with all of your choices and your budget and due dates is so important. It may not be enjoyable, but it will certainly save you from lots of headaches throughout the process. And your contractor will thank you. Because they want to focus on building and getting the job done, not chasing you down for decisions.