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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Smile Just signed on a house building contract
    This has to be the 2nd scariest day of my life. The first one was signing on a house that we bought 14 years ago that we are still in. I have a blog about it that I will share at a later date.

    Any words of wisdom from those that have built before me ? I hear this is something that can really try a marriage.
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  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    The upgrades are what will break both your budget and possibly your relationships. They don't have to. Just keep telling yourself that you'll make it through. It's very easy to keep adding things to the original estimates and that's when the nerves get frayed.

    If one of you pushes to upgrade the flooring and the other uses that to get the upgrade they want on the lighting, etc. etc. The most peaceful people in the world can come to blows over the importance of wood vs plastic shelving in a bedroom closet.

    Building a house can be a wonderful way to get exactly what you want. But don't forget to plan for that whole first year, when you're likely to spend another 10% just finishing things up the way you dreamed.

    Good luck and tell each other that nothing you fight about for the next 6 months really counts.

  3. #3
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    I watched my brother go through this a year ago. When the wife ask you if she can have something upgraded say yes but they ask why and take a deep breath as she explains. Odds are it is for a good and practical reason. The cost will justify itself.

    My brother wanted radiant heating and he got to do that and she wanted a certain wood floor in the dining room - they both won! the new floor dont stain and the heat sytem saves money.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    I've been there a few times Patrick, and though it can get a bit hectic at times, it is easy enough to get through provided you have all around good communications with your wife, contractors, bank etc. In the middle of it you may think: "man this is taking forever, is it ever going to be done?"

    When that happens, think back to when you were 18 years old. Then think of how quickly you went from 18 to present day. Time goes quickly, so keep that in mind as you build. It will be done before you know it, and you will have the home you want! Congratulations to you and your wife Patrick. I hope your new place is a dream come true.

    Alan
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  5. #5
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Try to enjoy the process. Fearing it will leave you drained. :-) Hope you don't have too many big battles over it.

    meanwhile, congratulations! It's a GOOD event and one to be celebrated! Crack a bottle of champagne.

    Nothing seems so scary after half a bottle of the good stuff. :-)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
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  6. #6
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Patrick,

    Somehow, I've managed to live in 4 new construction homes in my life (and I'm only in my early 30's). It's actually a really fun process to go through and pick out all of the things that are your style, rather than living with someone else's tastes.

    Remember a couple of things- first, builders make much of their money on the upgrades that you put in. Try to only upgrade things that are not easily upgraded in the future....for example, if you want tile floor in the kitchen, do it now....but let the light fixture upgrades wait. You can do them much cheaper yourself once you're in the house. Same with any kind of finish carpentry like chair rail, crown molding, etc. Second, don't let the builder take any short cuts. If you notice that they cut a corner and didn't do something right, tell them. If they say they won't fix it, tell them you won't settle on the house. It'll get done. Lastly, don't forget the lawn. The house I'm in now is the first one I've ever had that didn't have sod come standard. I didn't take the option because I figured I'd just seed until I had a nice yard. Big mistake. I wish I had sod. I have a big patchy mess for a lawn.

    Just remember what people always say...kitchens and bathrooms are what makes the house valuable. Make sure you do those right.

    Otherwise, really enjoy the process. It should be more fun than stressful.

    Good luck.
    [B]Mike Tabasso,[/B] [COLOR=DeepSkyBlue]Gen3 Marketing[/COLOR]
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  7. #7
    http and a telephoto
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    Congrats! A new home is exciting. Building one means you get it the way you want it. I haven't built a home, but have remodeled a couple of times. I actually liked it...
    Deborah Carney
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  8. #8
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    Congratulations!

    I'm sure you'll enjoy the adventure. I want to build eventually as we are outgrowing our current home and I'd much rather have something built around my "wish list." Enjoy every second, even the crazy and hectic ones.
    Kim Salvino, Client Services Director, Performance Horizon Group
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  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    Try to only upgrade things that are not easily upgraded in the future....for example, if you want tile floor in the kitchen, do it now....but let the light fixture upgrades wait. You can do them much cheaper yourself once you're in the house. Same with any kind of finish carpentry like chair rail, crown molding, etc. Second, don't let the builder take any short cuts. If you notice that they cut a corner and didn't do something right, tell them
    Those are great points!

    kitchens and bathrooms are what makes the house valuable. Make sure you do those right.
    And that is probably the best advice ever.

    Patrick: It will be wonderful! This is the right market to get what you want. The builders will be a little more anxious to please.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Thank you everybody for the kind words. I'll keep you up to date as it progresses. And then hopefully I can make my posts from the new cave in early October.
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    This response was masterly crafted via the fingers of Patrick Allmond who believe you should StopDoingNothing starting today.
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  11. #11
    Internet Cowboy
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    Patrick,
    Talk to Scott Campbell. He built houses for years and can no doubt shed some very informative light on the subject for you.
    I considered building when I bought my house and Scott was very helpful.
    Congrats man. I have never had a shiny brand new house. It must sure be nice!


  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    We built our house a little over five years ago. It wasn't your typical "custom" home, though. Most builders who do what they call custom homes have set plans and you only get to choose colors, carpet, and other minor stuff. With ours, we designed the plans from scratch with an architect, worked with a designer, talked with most of the contractors, and chose just about everything that went into it. We were able to change contractors if we didn't like the bid from the contractors that the builder normally used. The builder charged us a fixed fee (i.e. cost plus). We had always heard horror stories about it being awful, but we really enjoyed it. Through nine months of construction, we were on site just about every day. I think the builder / general contractor makes a huge difference, though, and we chose one of the best in our area. He typically only builds about 10-20 houses per year. We went over budget about 30%.

    Some things we did that we would recommend:

    1) Use 2x6 exterior walls (rather than 2x4) for extra insullation.
    2) Insulate interior walls around bedrooms and bathrooms and between the floors if it's multi-story.
    3) If you have a built-in for a large TV in a room, design a hidden access or storage room behind it.
    4) Prewire the house for everything you might want now or in the future: phones, TV, network, intercom, security, speakers, etc.
    5) Design for low maintenance with brick, stone, and products like Hardie board.
    6) Use tile in the bathrooms instead of carpet. Consider in-floor radiant heat in the bathrooms so the floors will be warm.
    7) Use a timer for the exhaust fans in your bathrooms.
    8) Add a whole house surge protector.
    9) Have the framers use screws instead of nails on floors and stairs, to prevent squeaky floors and steps.
    10) We put a pantry (which also has an extra fridge, a deep freeze, and an island) between the garage and the kitchen, so we can unload groceries directly into the pantry.
    11) Utilize any extra space in the plans for storage.
    12) Don't let the plumbers put the shower heads too low just to save the cost of a foot of pipe.
    13) Put decking in the attic for storage.
    14) Use 36" doors throughout.
    15) Put lights and outlets on separate circuits.
    16) Put plugs in the eaves, hooked to a timer (for Christmas lights).
    17) Put outdoor plugs on each side of the house.
    18) If you have accent lighting, have it wired to a timer.
    19) If you plan on using X10, make sure to install a coupler and a repeater if necessary.
    20) Don't use flat paint anywhere, because it is hard to keep clean.

    I'm sure I could come up with dozens of others. When we were designing and building ours, we had a list of probably 100 things we wanted.
    Michael Coley
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  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Patrick, congrats.

    I agree too, the upgrades is what the builder will try to push. And true, you only need to upgrade those which add value to the house right away and easier to do it now as opposed to re-modeling headaches later. What adds value? The kitchen, the bathroom and if you are just building 3 bedrooms but given a choice of an extra bedroom now, even if you think you might not need it, get it, as it will cost you double or more to add a new room later from a separate contractor and that is if you can get the permit later.

    Sometimes not easy to get a permit to add an extra bedroom in certain new developments after all the homes in a particular phase are built as the 'building code' might depend on lot and how the home is built, but through the builder he might be able to shift the house to the left or right of the lot or also even be able to get you in a bigger lot now, that he could get the permit and add another bedroom easier.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new house and good luck with your project. I design custom homes and work with many types of buyers and builders. Remember to have fun choosing everything you want now as well as things that may be needed in the future. Don't be affraid to go a little over budget. Remember back to your first home purchase. It was scary, but you found ways to work out the financing until you were comfortable with it. You can do it again. It's just a matter of stepping out of your comfort zone and moving ahead. If you get bogged down in the details just step back, take a deep breath and consider the big picture.
    ~Ernie

  15. #15
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    4) Prewire the house for everything you might want now or in the future: phones, TV, network, intercom, security, speakers, etc.
    8) Add a whole house surge protector.
    14) Use 36" doors throughout.
    15) Put lights and outlets on separate circuits.
    17) Put outdoor plugs on each side of the house.
    19) If you plan on using X10, make sure to install a coupler and a repeater if necessary.
    Those are all good tips!

    But, I am just going to comment on those that I have the most experience.

    4) - Although the future might look that most of those electronic toys will be 100% wireless in just a few more years, it's much better to prewire the entire house now that the walls are naked, than later have to drill holes and fish wires through the walls and studs, and then have to try to mach the paint, or try to cover the extra holes with plaster and try to get an even surface, or wind up with an outlet in the middle of two studs, and then...... (I think you can get the idea.)

    8) - Not only get a whole house surge protector, but also make sure that the whole house wiring is properly grounded. I don't think that you want to risk a few $k's in electronic equipment's damage, just because only one plug, or outlet was not properly grounded. (I hate when that happened, the second time to me.)

    14) - Well, just make sure that the Pool Table, or any other big affiliate marketer toy, will fit through that door later.

    15) - Well, if you need to replace an outlet in a room, you may want to be able to see that outlet with a light from that same room, and if you need to replace the lighting fixture in that room, you may want to be able to plug a portable lamp on that outlet, in order to see what you're doing with that new chandelier.

    17) - The main benefit of outdoor plugs on each side of the house is, that no matter on what side of the house you park the car, you can always use the car vac, without the need for an extension cord, but there are more than 101 benefits for having outdoor plugs on each side of the house. (Even one, on the roof too.)

    19) - I'm not going to promote X10 on this one, because I use other kinds, but it's true, plan for the external wiring of CCT, Wireless SC's and other security gismos that you probably are going to install on your new Castle.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    Congrats Patrick!

    You've already received great advice ... hope your new house is everything you want it to be.
    Ray Thomas
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  17. #17
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    Congratulations!

    I am in the process of finishing a new house, and I keep reminding myself that "it won't always be like this (crazy / busy)."

    Take some time to think through all the things you really want in the house, and then decide on what needs to be done now (before / during construction), and what can be handled later.

    Good luck!

  18. #18
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Patrick I don't know what you are using for insulation but my brother just had a truck come in and do his house when he renovated and he said it was the best thing he ever did. No messy rolls of insulation and the house is sealed tight. Interior walls were done also for noise purposes. It cost about 5800 to do the whole house. He will save that in heat up here in the northeast in one winter alone
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  19. #19
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    congrats on the house buddy!

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