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What You Need To Know To Build A House

Have you built a new home before? Building a home is the biggest single project of a lifetime for most of us.  If you haven’t built before, are you wondering what you need to know and do before you build?

I wish it was easy to tell you everything you need to know, but unfortunately I can’t.  That’s because every home is different and the list of things is endless. Instead, I can help you understand how to make decisions.  Because that is what building a house is, a series of decisions.

Quality, Quantity and Cost

I think it’s helpful to understand that most of your decisions will be about Quality, Quantity and Cost (Q,Q & C).  For example, if you have to paint the house, this question can be looked at through the lens of Q,Q & C.  A professional painter can deliver high quality and the necessary quantity, usually at a higher cost.  If all that works for you then the decision is easily made, however if money is tight (which it usually is) then it’s important to understand what your options are.

Looking again through the lens of Q,Q & C you might decide that in order to save money you need to compromise on either quality or quantity.  As an example you might decide to give a little on quality by purchasing good quality paint and doing it yourself.​  While not a professional level job, if you have some skill and time and patience this will usually give you a pretty good paint job at lower cost.  Another example is landscaping.  It’s often neglected because it’s the last item to be installed and budgets are usually running thin. Here’s where quantity could be limited.  Instead of installing 24″ box trees and 5 gallon shrubs, consider 5 gallon trees and 1 gallon shrubs.  It will take longer for your yard to fill out, but the quality will remain intact and the cost will be lower.

Trade Offs

Paint is an easy example of an area to make trade offs.  That’s because it’s not that expensive in the whole scheme of things and it’s easily changed. As things get more difficult to change, then it makes more sense to limit the tradeoffs.

What Not To Tradeoff

  • Items that are difficult to change, like the building shell.
  • Needs

What To Tradeoff

  • Items that are easily changed, like finishes.
  • Wants

You may already be familiar with the idea of needs versus wants, but just in case it’s new to you, here’s and example: heating and/or cooling are needs and granite countertops are wants.

There are big picture tradeoffs that you can make as well.  If money is tight but quality is important, consider limiting the size of your building.  Or, build in phases versus all at once.

If you evaluate all decisions based on the Q,Q & C lens and consider tradeoffs when necessary, it will help you to make decisions that are right for you.  Building a new home is always going to be expensive, complicated and a big deal and you will be pressed to decide on a big list of things.  Make it easier on yourself by understanding what is most important on the Q,Q & C list and decide accordingly.  

Good Luck!  If you have questions about decisions or tradeoffs, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help.