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Things to Consider When Building a House

Building a House - what to know

Building a House – What to Know

Just because the market is flooded with foreclosures and such doesn’t mean the house you want is out there. Building a home to suit your needs and wants could be the best way to go. When you start building a house there are some basic factors to guide your choices: cost efficiency, time efficiency and quality of construction.

1. House Design

You can hire an architect to transpose your ideal home on blueprints exactly as you imagine it, or an architect that will amaze you with architectural solutions offered for any land or building space. Take care because your floor plan should be something that you can live with for many years to come…

2. Types of Materials – Go Green

Remember, building a house is an integrated project and the materials used must match the architectural lines and future design. Since you’re building from scratch, you have the perfect opportunity to “build green” right from the start. Some tips for that: The home should be oriented in the best way to bring abundant natural daylight into the interior, in order to reduce lighting requirements. The exterior should have shading, the roof should be a light-colored, heat-reflecting Energy Star roof, or a green (landscaped) roof, to reduce heat absorption.

A green home has a water-conserving irrigation system, water-efficient kitchen and bathroom fixtures, a rainwater collection and storage system, has energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling and water-heating systems. A green home will have been constructed with healthy, non-toxic building materials and furnishings, like low and zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants and non-toxic materials like strawboard for the sub-flooring. Wood-based features should come from rapidly renewable sources like bamboo. A green home uses salvaged materials and materials with significant recycled content. If you decide that you want a luxury house, try to make consistent choices: do not buy expensive materials for half a house, and then cheap materials because you ran out of budget.

3. Hiring a Construction Company

The hardest part is raising the house itself. You have to choose between construction contracting firms to handle the project from start to end. The advantage is that construction companies have great experience and they will always give the best solution. You can request an estimate which will show you how much the price adds to the construction cost. In addition, specialized companies can help with materials. Instead of running around searching for the best deals, construction companies can suggest the best price and quality materials. Professionals use software that shows them the best deals on the market, and have special departments of acquisitions and they get much better pricing for materials purchased wholesale. But you can’t afford to just pick the first building contractor you see in the phone book. Ask around. Before hiring a contractor, call the department to verify that the contractor is licensed and to learn if there is any history of disciplinary action. Do not sign anything presented by a contractor unless you read the document very carefully and have made a firm decision to hire that contractor. See also our article about Insurance. Make sure the contractor you hire is all up to date on all the insurances needed. Before you sign a contract, make sure it includes:

  • A detailed summary of the work to be done.
  • A description of materials.
  • The total price or how the price will be calculated.
  • Specific timelines and provisions that address what will happen if the contractor fails to meet the contractual deadlines. Consider a performance bond.

Submit copies of construction documents to several contractors and get bids. Compare the submitted bids. Check the project down payment. A down payment greater than 10 percent of the total bid may signal the contractor is having financial trouble. Select a contractor with reasonable rates.

4. Cost of Documents and Unexpected Costs

Permits, surveying, tabulation, insurance and any other documents. As with any sizable project, during the construction process, there are likely to be unexpected costs. Depending on your budget, you may not have room for these types of emergencies… it is a must to have some savings for unforseen problems that may arise.

If you want to build your dream house, you must hold control throughout the project and to calculate your contingencies in detail. You can estimate the proper start-up costs and prepare a budget. Just be careful who you work with and always ask for estimates, bids and schedules. Construction companies use professional software programs for highly accurate estimates and schedules. This can help you find the best solution for your particular type of project.

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