We are going to start building a house. I'm scared out of my mind! Any tips for me? Things to watch out for. Things I might not of thought of... anything! Thanks!
Debbie from Lewiston, NY
Are you literally building the home yourself, or working with a contractor?
The basic bottom line... get EVERYTHING in writing. Make NO oral contracts. And make sure that everyone you are working with is licensed and insured. Run a BBB search and ask questions about any negative reports you find.
This is probably not exactly what you are looking for but it is what came to mind immediately.
When we built a new home it caused the most arguements in our 42 years of marriage. I mean bad arguements. So my advice is to agree that there will be differences in opinion and that you will compromise with each other.
Be sure to insulate the inside walls of bathrooms and kitchen. We are regretting we didn't do that. Our guest bath is between two bedrooms, when you turn on the shower it is so loud in the bedroom, the toilet flushing is also very loud, if people are trying to sleep in the bedroom and some one is using the shower etc in the bathroom they will have a hard time trying to sleep. The kitchen also backs the bedroom, I can't use the microwave if someone is sleeping in the bedroom it is so loud.
Inspect the house daily. People have told me stories about windows placed where they don't belong and the toilet drain where the shower is located.
When you see a pipel, ask where it goes and what it's for.
Do not use a paint that is called "Contractor's grade... or something like that". It sounds nice, but won't last long.
Do not order the best appliances for the house. They will be part of your mortgage and long after they break and need replacing, you will be still paying for them and also rebuying replacements at the same time.
Don't even get granite countertops. Expensive, requiring upkeep and I wonder about the weekly maintenance oiling rubbing off on clothing.
Make sure the ceiling fans are not going, "tick...tick...) because although they may be installed properly, if they are cheap (and part of the house package deal), they will never be well balanced. Offer to pay more out of pocket for better fans.
Get the most powerful vent exhaust for the bathrooms and kitchen you can afford! This help with mildew and greasy old cooking smells hanging around the house.
I have heard that building a house puts a strain on a marriage. Keeping that in mind, try to keep your calm and tell that to your spouse!
Also, a built in cabinet for a microwave will tie you to a particular size forever. You are better off having a place where you can just purchase a new one off the shelf. Our micro costs triple because of the wierd sizing. Only 1 co. in the US makes it.
Take pictures as building progresses. It's not only fun to look back years later on the process, but it's also helpful in finding out where particular wiring and plumbing lines are located.
Drilling a well? Installing a septic system? Have the soil tested to see if it will "perk" and drill the well first thing if the area you live it has problems with that sort of thing.
Ditto on the suggestion of insulating the bathroom walls...we did and are extremely happy we did (we have a small home).
Don't make a payment in full on anything until the work is completed. Partial payments may have to be made...keeps the workers working, but you need a guarantee that the job will be finished.
Doors on your walk in closets? Although they're pretty and do provide air circulation, the "slatted" type (can't recall the name) are only dust-catchers and are very hard to keep clean.
Although it may cost more during the initial build, get the best windows possible. You'll not regret it...and try to get the type that are easy to clean on the outside...from the inside, if possible. Especially if you're going to need a ladder to do the outside cleaning.
My husband and I had a very good experience building a home. Still married...for 29 years now. Now putting a metal storage building together during our 2nd year of marriage was another story. I've always said if you can make it through building one of those, then there's hope for a long life together!
Enjoy the experience...just remember that after the house is in the dry...the inside work goes rather slowly...but it will all be worth it!
Watch daily, know who's doing what, hold them responsible for their actions, get really good windows installed, I personally reccomend staining all of your concrete even if you're going to have it carpeted, you may change your mind later, pick out your own light fixtures and fans, and be there as much as possible to prevent the contracters from taking shortcuts!
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