Solid Advice: What You Need to Know Before Building a Home

What you need to know before building a home

You’ve seen it before — the oft-used, enticing headline on land for sale — “Build Your Dream Home!” Have you ever actually pondered what it might be like to not only build, but also live in your dream home? What features would you most definitely include? What would you exclude? What would your yard look like? Your kitchen? Your master suite? The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing finishes, paint colors, and floor plans. In fact, it can get downright overwhelming. To ease the stress, we gathered some valuable tips on the home construction process.

Before purchasing your prime piece of land and building the home of your dreams, heed this advice

Some good friends of mine — Paul & Laura Riner — just so happened to finish building their dream home a couple months ago. Some other good friends of mine — Tim & Jonelle Frost — are currently in the process of building a new home.

In my casual chats with both Laura and Jonelle, they’ve explained that going into the design phase, they both wanted a home that they could live in for many years to come, and made decisions accordingly… the number of bedrooms included, the amount of storage space, the size of the kitchen and living areas, outdoor spaces, etc.

I also asked each couple formally for any advice we could share about what someone who is thinking about building a home might need to know. Here’s some solid advice from Paul and Tim:

1. Hire the Right Contractors Who Will Guide You Smoothly Through the Process

PAUL >>

We bought land that needed a well and septic system. This was a new process for me. Make sure that you hire the right people who can make the right recommendations to you. When we discovered that we could not get approval for a conventional septic system, we could have given up. But our contractor was diligent to find an alternative solution for us that not only worked, but was very close to what we would have paid for a conventional system anyway! A good contractor can also help you jump through all of the hoops with the health department, fill out paperwork and applications, find a contractor to install whatever system you decide on, and connect you with companies who can provide continuing maintenance as needed.  Also, go into the well-drilling process knowing that there is no way to predict how deep you will need to go, but that you want to have enough water. Also, remember that this is a VERY important, one-time cost, so if it is higher than you thought it would be, you’ll just have to live with it! You gotta have water!

Make your life easier by talking to and hiring the right builder. There are a lot in the area who have been doing what they do for a long time. We had family who worked for a builder outside of Harrisonburg, but who came in and worked with the contractors we wanted them to since we already had connections with them, as well as making recommendations based on their own discussions with others in the area. We felt very well taken care of; the lines of communication were always open, and in the end, we felt like our builder went to bat for us to negotiate pricing and help us to get exactly what we wanted in our new home. Our builder, Midlothian, Inc., helped from location and placement of the house, custom blueprints, to suggestions on finishes, as well as furniture placement, styling choices, and nudged us to make decisions we wouldn’t have made but cannot imagine our house with or without now. They were an extension of us through the process! A good builder will improve the client’s initial plan into something incredible, based on the budget you discuss.

TIM >>

Make sure you like and trust your builder. We do and it has been a good process with Aaron Yoder at A.M. Yoder & Co. Communication between the builder and the owners is really important.

2. Ask Questions & Be Ready To Make Decisions

PAUL >>

Ask your contractor and/or builder questions like: What does the schedule look like from beginning to end? When will I need to set aside hours, days, etc. to meet with contractors, the builder, or to address issues as they come up?

TIM >>

There are a million and one decisions to be made. When you move into a house already built you can question why they built it that way or why they put that light switch in a certain place. When you design the house you live in you are the one to blame for its idiosyncrasies!

3. Be Flexible

PAUL >>

Timeline Projections are EXACTLY that: PROJECTIONS. We built through the winter, and when the temperatures dropped around zero degrees for three weeks, work had to stop. It wasn’t a big deal, but you have to be ready for delays, work stoppage, or re-scheduling based on everyone’s schedules. Remember that there are multiple people trying to line up dates and times, and sometimes it just will not work, especially when it is because of something you can’t control (weather, materials shipment delayed, etc.).

TIM >>

You need to be flexible because there are so many variables in building that change throughout the build process. Also, it’s probably going to cost more than you think.

4.  Have Fun!

PAUL >>

Remember that the process, while stressful, is supposed to be fun. Go walk around, enjoy the progress, feel blessed to be building/renovating a home for your family, and take it a week at a time. Looking too far ahead during the process will only add stress!

TIM >>

The process has been fun for me because I can visualize what a concept will look like and it’s fun to see that concept take shape. It has been harder for Jonelle because it’s hard for her to conceptualize something until she can actually see it. This has provided some “fun” moments of “discussion.”

Land for Sale in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County

Land for Sale | Harrisonburg & Rockingham County, VA

Take a look at land currently for sale in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, with the option of refining to your price point, specific location, lot size, and more.

Newly Constructed Homes for Sale in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County

Building a Home | Harrisonburg, VA

Perhaps the thought of building a home is too overwhelming, or the timing isn’t right for now, but you’d prefer to live in a newly constructed home. Here are homes built in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County since 2010.

Have you built a home? Are you currently in the building process? Please share your advice in the comments!

About Lisa Oates

Lisa is the creative mind behind The Harrisonburg Homes Team, providing streamlined content management, quality authorship, and graphic design for Harrisonblog. She's passionate about blogging, enjoying life, and a good cup of coffee.

7 thoughts on “Solid Advice: What You Need to Know Before Building a Home

  1. David Grim

    I was glad to read this post as it contains some great knowledge. I hope people like this post and bookmark this blog because it contains some great information. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Avery Grey

    My husband and I have been wanting to build a custom home for the past few years. We have a lot of things that we want to do with our home so I think that these tips will really help us. Hiring the right contractor would be a great thing to do so doing a lot of research will be a priority for us. Thank you for sharing these great insights!

    Reply
  3. Tara Jones

    I love what you said about good builders being able to take their clients’ plans and improve them. That’s what we need! I think word of mouth referrals are so important, because how else can you judge someone’s ability to improve upon things unless you actually hear about it? We’re just barely starting to look for our builder, but I’m going to keep that in mind, because at the end of the day having someone like that will really make the process go that much smoother.

    Reply
  4. David

    I appreciate your time for posting a blog on this topic. I hope your information will help us to build a dream home in low cost.

    Reply
  5. Aria Wellington

    I love how you said that it is important to be flexible because the timeline projections are just projections. We want to do a custom kitchen job in the next few months and we are really excited to get the job started. I know that there will be some things that we need to change eventually so I’ll have to remember to be flexible like you suggest.

    Reply

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