I thought building a custom home was supposed to be FUN…
While building a custom home can and should be an enjoyable process, it’s not uncommon for a homeowner to get frustrated. There are a myriad of details, schedules and costs that all need to jive and true to most things in life, there will be hiccups along the way.
Making the design process smooth and enjoyable boils down to one thing, having a clear idea of what you want before you begin. Indecision is going to cost you time and money—it’s that simple. Generally speaking, this is going to rain on your parade.
Builders have a responsibility to be as upfront as possible regarding lead times, schedules, budgets, options and costs. The more they can do the better. As a homeowner, having a clear idea of what you are looking for will streamline this process.
It’s important to set expectations from the beginning. It may sound harsh, but the reality is the homeowner should be held to a certain standard in making decisions, and the contractor should be held to a certain standard in meeting the agreed upon schedule and budget.
It’s all about the communication.
The more interaction you have with your builder and architect the better. Once you get to know one another’s ins and outs and build a rapport, it’s easier to have open discussions. (The reality is, you will probably be on the phone together half a dozen times a day so cozy up and get close.)
An experienced contractor can estimate schedules based on prior projects, but dialing it in requires a incredible level of detail on all parts of the design team. A responsible contractor will constantly evaluate the project with you and the architect, watching that the timing and budgets are still in alignment with your expectations.
Any changes have a trickle down effect. So many things go into a decision that one detail can throw the entire schedule and budget off kilter— lead times, manufacturing, shipping, installation—all of these things are factored into the project and when one thing changes, it all changes.
Conversely, the contractor needs to be open about progress along the way. The reality is, human error happens and mistakes should be communicated quickly along with a solution to remedy the issue.
None of this is meant to be discouraging, quite the opposite. The goal is to have your expectations meet your aspirations. So just remember to relax, keep your eye on the prize and watch your vision unfold.