Archive for the 'Building a House' Category

Jul 30 2013

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5 More Home Building Tips – The House Plan Shop

Home Construction SiteBuilding your dream house is exciting. But be aware, it can have its challenges, too. In a recent blog post, 5 Practical Tips for Building a New Home, we provided tips to help make the home building process run smoothly for you. Below are five more tips that will help you through the construction process, prepare you from some of the challenges you might face, and ensure success with your home building project.

  1. Choose your location carefully. One of the most important decisions you’ll make about building your new home comes well before construction begins – choosing your lot. It is necessary to be selective about where you build. If building in a neighborhood, ask your yourself, “What makes each possible neighborhood stand out from the rest?” What amenities does each possible neighborhood offer? Walking/bike trails? A community playground? Stoplights and crosswalks at intersections? Next consider if a particular neighborhood will accommodate your lifestyle. Is it closet to work, school, shopping centers, etc.? Is it neat and clean? Drive through the neighborhood at various times of the day over period of a week or two. Pay attention to what is happening in the neighborhood. If you have kids, look for kids playing, riding bikes, etc. Is this a kid-friendly neighborhood? Get a good feel for if this neighborhood is the one you have imagined living in by observing all the activity as you drive through it. If you are building on acreage outside the city or suburbs, you might be looking for property with a view, something that offers natural resources like wooded areas or a pond, or maybe you just want a lot that has good lighting allowing you to take advantage of natural lighting in your new home. It is OK to be choosey. You are going to build your dream home here.
  2. Be familiar with your construction timeline. Constructing a new house doesn’t happen overnight. It usually takes several months to build a new house. During the construction phase, many things must be arranged and coordinated, such as pouring the foundation and delivery of other materials. Your builder or general contractor will take care of the majority of elements related to the actual construction of the home. However, there will be a lot for you to take care of, too. If you currently own a home, your current house must be sold and you must arrange for a new mortgage, all the while you are making decisions about your new home such as what type of kitchen cabinets you want, and whether you prefer hardwood floors or carpet in the dining room. Talk with your builder to get an estimated completion date and plan accordingly.
  3. Monitor progress. Once you and your builder have established an estimated date for completion, it is in your best interest to monitor progress closely. One of the best ways to help prevent construction delays is to be involved in the building process. Visit the construction site regularly and keep track of what is being done. Talk to your builder often and keep up-to-date on progress. Ask questions if something seems incorrect, is taking too long, etc. Carry your own set of blueprints in the trunk of your car and refer back to the construction drawings when visiting the jobsite. This will help you keep a close eye on progress.
  4. Pay attention to your budget. When building your dream home it is easy to go overboard on adding amenities that you’d like to have, but these often add up to BIG BUCKS! Choose upgrades carefully and know exactly how much each one is going to cost. The last thing you want to do is blow your budget half way through the project. And remember, some upgrades can be added later. If you don’t have enough for that fancy chandelier in the dining room, choose a modest light fixture now that will do the job and then upgrade in a couple of years when you’ve had an opportunity to save up for the fixture you really want.
  5. Avoid changes. During construction, you might realize you want to change one aspect or another about your home. Be aware, sticking to the blueprints will help you stay on budget and on time for your scheduled completion date. Try to avoid making changes to your house plans once construction begins. Changes are often costly and can delay the completion of your home. Avoiding changes will help you finish on budget and on time.

The home building process is going to be more enjoyable and more exciting to experience if you are prepared for what to expect in the building process and make careful decisions. If you are considering building a new house, these tips will help you be ready for what is to come.

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Jul 02 2013

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5 Practical Tips for Building a New Home – The House Plan Shop

Construction SiteWhile building a new home can be very exciting, it can also be challenging and exhausting. Follow these five home building tips to help ensure the construction of your new home goes smoothly and is stress free.

1. Choose a qualified and reliable builder. While there may be many builders to choose from, you might not want all of them to have a hand in the biggest investment of your life. Not all builders are created equal, therefore it is recommended that you do some research to find the most qualified and reliable builder that fits your budget. Ask for recommendations from family members, friends and co-workers who have recently built a home. Ask the following about each builder: Are they easy to work with? A good listener? Punctual? Do they do high quality work? Would you hire the same builder again? Furthermore do some research online. Which builders have a good reputation? Check with the Better Business Bureau. Finally, interview potential builders to get a feel for each one’s personality, work ethic, etc. Ask to see proof of insurance. Collecting all of the above information will help you make an educated decision about which builder you will hire.

2. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage/construction loan. Before you purchase land or blueprints, it is recommended that you get pre-approved for a mortgage or construction loan. This process requires you to contact a lender and provide them with basic financial information such as your income, debts, assets, etc. By doing so, you can find out what size mortgage you’ll qualify for with the lender. Then, complete the mortgage application and provide the necessary and required financial documentation for credit check to finalize the pre-approval for your mortgage. This way you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new home well before you begin the building process.

3. Keep resale in mind. Though you might be building your dream home, it is highly possible that this might not be the last home you own. As you make all of your home building plans, keep resale in mind. Ask yourself if the features you are incorporating in your home will appeal to a potential buyer years down the road. Be mindful of adding upgrades. If you add too many upgrades, you might overprice your home for the neighborhood making it hard to sell ten years from now.

4. Expect delays. While you might expect your builder to stick to the construction schedule, there is always a chance for delays. Be prepared to be flexible as there is always the possibility that inclement weather, labor problems or a shortage of supplies could delay the construction schedule. Ask your builder to add some extra days into the schedule to accommodate delays. If you’re prepared for delays going into the building process, you won’t be nearly as surprised, stressed or frustrated when various delays arise.

5. Make arrangements for temporary housing. Often there is a delay or gap in time between the time your lease expires on your rental unit or you sell your existing home and the time construction is finished on your new home. If this happens to be the case for you, make temporary housing arrangements in advance. This could be necessary for a few days, a few weeks or a few months depending on your construction schedule. Make sure that your temporary housing arrangement is affordable and doesn’t disrupt your daily routine too much (i.e. staying in your parents’ basement that is more than a hour’s drive from work when you’re used to driving only 10 minutes to get to work.)

It is definitely more exciting and easier to enjoy the home building process when things go smoothly. These tips will help you prepare for what is to come as you start off on your home building adventure.

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Jan 30 2013

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3 Ways to Control Home Building Costs – The House Plan Shop

Home under ConstructionWhen building a new house, one of the most important things you can do is control your building budget. Without careful planning, it is easy to go far over budget when building a home. Beginning without a building budget, making changes during construction, and poor craftsmanship are just a few of the things that can blow your home building budget or cause extra expenses.

 

1. Most homeowners who embark on a home building project rely on obtaining a loan from a financial institution. This requires careful planning of the building budget up front. Begin by getting a feel for what things are going to cost. For example, visit several local lumberyards and find out what materials are available and their costs. Talk to the lumberyards about buying materials in bulk. Often, lumberyards will offer a better discount when all of the materials for the home are bought at the same time. This will slash your material costs. Also, compare the costs of luxury items verses budget items such as light fixtures. If a budget fixture is just as visually appealing, comes with a good warranty and serves the same purpose as the luxury item, choose the budget item. This tactic will cut wasteful spending tremendously. Using methods like these will help you save money and establish a building budget that works with your loan.

 

2. Next, go over your house plans carefully and discuss everything about the design, the floor plan, special elements, etc., with your builder before construction begins. It is important to have all the details worked out with your builder ahead of time. Once construction begins, making changes to the exterior of the home or the floor plan can become very costly in a hurry. When changes are made during construction, it often requires the builder to tear down or redo some portion of the home that was already complete or near completion causing a waste of time, money, materials, and labor.  

 

3. Finally, you might not be able to control the local labor costs, but you can control who you choose to do the work on your new home. Interview potential builders, ask to see their credentials, visit other jobsites where the builder has worked, and ask the builder for references from past clients. Researching the builder you hire (and the subcontractors) will help you choose the most qualified and skilled builder you can afford. Your new home is a major investment. You don’t want to ruin the experience of building a new home with poor craftsmanship. If you end up hiring an inexperienced builder or subcontractors, it is likely you’ll run it to problems quickly. Poor craftsmanship means you’ll be spending more later to repair things that were not properly built, constructed or installed during the construction of your home.

 

If you’re planning to build a new home, follow these tips to control your building costs.

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Oct 09 2012

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Large or Small? Determining the Size of your House Plans – The House Plan Shop

Two-Story House Plan 007H-0123If you’ve decided to build a new house, you’ve probably already realized there a many things to consider before you begin from buying a lot and choosing a builder to selecting convenient floor plan features and securing a loan. Determining the size of your new house plan is one of the any things you’ll want to think about. Take some time to consider your lifestyle, as well as needs and wants in order to determine the size home you’ll need and the kinds of spaces you’ll want to include in your floor plan. This list will help you consider some of the key factors in many homebuyers’ decisions when it comes to choosing the right-sized home.

 

  1. How many people will live in the home? How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need? Do you have an aging parent or another relative living with you? Will the kids share bedrooms or will each child have his or her own? If you are not married or do not have children at the present time, consider the future. Retirees and empty-nesters many consider walk-in showers and handicap accessible features in the master bath and perhaps even in another bath on the main level of the home.
  2. Are you retried and plan on the kids and grandkids coming home for the holidays? How will you accommodate them? Bedrooms? Pull-out couches in the family room and recreation room? Convert the office to a guest room?
  3. Do you plan to entertain regularly? Will you need a formal dining room for holiday meals or can you get by with a casual dining space and a snack bar? Do you prefer formal entertainment spaces or will a spacious family room or great room that opens to the kitchen and breakfast nook satisfy your entertainment needs?
  4. Would you like to have an outdoor entertainment/relaxation space such as a screened porch, deck, covered patio or lanai?
  5. What kind or relaxation spaces do you need? Can you make do with the family room or do you want a recreation room, game room, home theater or finished basement?
  6. Think about hobbies. Do you play the piano? Will you need a separate space for the piano such as a music room or will the piano fit nicely in the living room? Do you need a sewing room? Are you a DIY guy who wants your own workshop or are you a car enthusiast who will need an oversized garage with plenty of storage space for auto parts and tools?
  7. How much storage space will you need? Consider bedroom closets, linen closets and other storage spaces in the mud room, utility room, garage, basement, etc.
  8. What organizational features do you need? Do you want a drop zone with lockers or cubbies in the mud room? Do you need a kitchen island, a built-in hutch or a meal planning desk? Would you like built-in display niches or a built-in entertainment center in the great room? Would window seats with storage in the bedrooms be useful?
  9. Consider specialized spaces. Will you need a private/quiet space such as a home office in order to work from home, meet with clients or pay bills online? Do you need a playroom for the kids?
  10. Consider flexible spaces. What may work well as a nursery when raising a family can one day convert to a home office or even a guest bedroom in the future. Flexible spaces are wonderful assets to any home because they can flex and change as your lifestyle changes. What flexible spaces would benefit you?
  11. Think about future spaces. You may not need extra space for your current lifestyle, but it is worth considering floor plans that offer unfinished basements and future/bonus rooms that can be finished later. These spaces are a great way to add living space to your home should your lifestyle change and demand it in the future.
  12. If you are single, you may not need much space at all. There are many simple floor plans that offer just the basics. Can you live comfortably with the basics? If so, you may not need to consider any of the special spaces and features mentioned above.

 

House plans come in all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of large homes that are suitable for large and growing families including two-story house plans and those with finished basements. There are also plenty of smaller homes for singles and couples. And there is even a vast array of floor plans designed for retirees and empty-nesters looking to downsize. Whatever phase of life you’re in right now, there is sure to be a right-sized home plan to satisfy your needs. Take some time to browse our house plans collections for find the right home design for you!

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Jun 06 2012

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3 Tips for Building a House – The House Plan Shop

Filed under Building a House

Home BuilderBuilding a new house is no easy task. From the professionals you hire to build your home to how you communicate your ideas to those involved in the home building process, many factors will determine how smoothly construction goes and the quality of the finished product, your home. These tips from The House Plan Shop will help you get started and carry you through construction resulting in a dream home you couldn’t be more proud of.

 

  1. Assemble a team of professionals. There are many people involved in the home building process, and it is important that you select professionals have a good reputation for home building whom you can work with and trust. Ask family and friends who have built for recommendations for contractors/builders. Interview them. Find out how long they’ve been in business. Check references. Ask to see proof of insurance and if they are bonded. Finally, ask if you can see their work at a jobsite they are working on currently. Do not settle for a builder who doesn’t communicate well with you or who has below-standard references.  After you’ve hired a builder, team up with him/her and hire a panel of sub-contractors such as a concrete professional to pour the foundation, plumbers, electricians, etc. Your builder might already have a good relationship with a variety of subcontractors that he/she works with regularly. Find a mortgage lender you are comfortable with who has a strong knowledge and plenty of experience with new home construction. Hire a residential designer to draw your blueprints or make any changes to your pre-drawn stock house plans that you might require. Hire a local engineer who can review your blueprints and provide any engineering for your local building codes. As for the professionals that you don’t get to choose for your team but must be a part of it (i.e. city building inspector), be sure to establish a good relationship with them from the start.
  2. Choose a floor plan. When a couple is building a home, both parties may have certain requirements for their future home, and some may be more important than others. Each person should create a list of the most important features of the floor plan. Review each other’s lists together and decide on one list of the most important features. Create a new list for the top three to seven items that are important for the home. Be sure to consider the size of the home and the number of levels, the number of family members you must accommodate, any special spaces you need such as a guest suite for your live-in mother-in-law,  and the activities that will happen in your home (do you prefer formal entertaining during the holidays or casual gatherings?) When you’ve determined the most important elements of the home find a pre-drawn floor plan that will accommodate your needs or hire a residential designer to draw a custom floor plan for you.
  3. Communicate thoughts clearly. When building a home it is necessary that you communicate clearly with your team of professionals and all other parties involved in the construction and finishing of your new home from the contractor to the person ordering custom drapes for the great room. Consider designating a point person for different aspects of the home-buying process so information is not delayed or communicated to just one or two of the people involved. You might even set up a special email address to keep all emails regarding the home building process in one place. You might specify that all sub-contractors contact the point person directly with estimated dates of completion for each professional’s work, etc. No matter whom you communicate with and not matter what the reason, be clear and concise, provide examples to illustrate your thoughts or ideas, and follow up with your building team to make sure everyone is on the same page from the start of construction until you close on your home. 

 

There are many other things you can do to ensure the building process will go smoothly from start to finish, but these handy tips will get you started.

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