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
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.
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
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?
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
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.).
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!
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!
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
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
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.