Unless you’ve done it before, building a home is a new and challenging process! Today we’re going to look at some of the most common mistakes that people make when building a home, and tips on how to avoid them.

  1. Compromising Location for Price

A huge mistake that homeowners make concerning custom homes is compromising location for price. Although a cheaper lot may be tempting, you have to remember location. In terms of property, amenities are key. Homes in a prime location are instantly valued higher. When building a home, purchase the best lot that you can manage and afford. A great lot in a great location instantly adds to your home’s value.

  1. Not Assembling Your Entire Team from the Start

When assembling your team, it doesn’t matter where you start – architect, builder or interior designer. The important thing is to assemble your entire team before starting the process. This will help with budgeting and avoid the setbacks that can occur when a new team member with new ideas is brought on after the design process has already started (or even worse, is already finished).

  1. Not Spending Sufficient Time in the Programming and Design Process

Changes on paper are simple, and much less expensive than changes made once construction has begun. It’s very important to spend quality time during the programming and design process to optimize how your new home will live. This ensures a high-quality design that you’ll love calling home and avoids potential costly changes once the process is further along.

  1. Not Making Timely Decisions

Due to our busy schedules, making timely decisions and selections is more important than ever in order to avoid delays in the construction schedule. In order to build a home effectively, many selections must be made before construction even begins. This allows a complete plan to be established and helps the building process move along smoothly. Ask your architect to prepare milestones and timelines for decisions to have been made.

  1. Second Guessing Yourself at Every Turn

You’ll consciously and subconsciously make hundreds of decisions over the course of designing and building your home. Your initial gut reaction is often the best decision for you – second guessing yourself throughout the process will only cause stress and delays. When doubts arise, rely on your team – there’s a reason you chose them. Changes during construction also opens loopholes for the contractor to take you to the cleaners with technicalities.

  1. Trying to Utilize an Existing Plan When Your Program Requires Custom

Every individual’s home is one-of-a-kind. Depending on what you’re looking for, trying to modify an existing plan (that you have ‘stolen’ from the internet) to fit your custom program can be like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Hire an architect.

  1. Over Spending on a Remodel Where New Construction Would Have Been More Cost Effective.

It’s a common misconception that remodeling is cheaper than new construction. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, remodeling or what we call in Kenya ‘renovation’ may or may not make sense. If you’re considering a large-scale remodel, it’s worth a conversation with your architect about what makes the most sense for your project. In most cases, renovation is more costly.

  1. Not Leaving Money in a Contingency Fund for Overages

Even with the best laid plans, something will almost always occur during a new build or remodel that wasn’t accounted for in your original budget. For this reason, we always recommend building a contingency fund. The amount of the contingency fund varies depending on each person and project, but as a general rule, plan for a minimum of 10% of your over-all construction budget. If possible, 20% is ideal.

  1. Homeowners Giving Instructions/Direction to Contractors without informing the architect.

Most directions/instructions given to a contractor have a financial implication. When you want something changed, first inform your architect. Your architect will then re-draft the change on to a new drawing. Cancel the old drawings on site and have the contractor sign that they are superseded and have your architect withdraw the old drawings and issue new ones with the date clearly specified. Your Quantity Surveyor will then price the savings or additional costs caused by your change and communicate with a contractor. If you fail to follow this path, be ready for claims from the contractor.