The staff at Yankee Barn Homes loves the anticipation and excitement of building a custom home. We want the experience to be positive. These bullet points suggest situations to avoid when building a new home:
1. Not allowing enough time to plan. We have lost count of how many times someone calls to begin the planning process in May, thinking they’ll be in their new home by September. Many people confuse pre-fab homes with modular homes. Building a custom post and beam home takes thoughtful planning. You will need to work through design, interviewing and securing a builder, permitting, production, site prep, delivery, and onsite construction. These steps take time. Some steps may be handled concurrently, but we recommend you start at least 12-18 months before you hope to enjoy your custom home.
2. Focusing on cost rather than quality. Shortsightedness, such as using lower grade windows that will increase energy costs for years to come, is one example. You get what you paid for. You may pay less, but the quality of the home is not going to be what you expected.
3. Designing for today without forecasting future needs. It’s a fact, we all age. Consider flexible universal designs that can be used by all occupants, regardless of age or abilities. Eliminate unnecessary complexity. Consider zero entry showers, wider doorways, or even eliminating thresholds. Think about designing spaces that could be used for different purposes throughout various life stages: bedroom, office, playroom, etc.
4. Buying a lot without understanding its limitations or feasibility. Today there are differing regulations from state to state and town to town. It is important to know what may affect your design or buildability, i.e., wetlands or ledge that requires blasting.
5. Choosing a contractor vs. being your own contractor. Building this way can save money, but it’s not always a wise choice. General Contracting is a full time job. Juggling building plans, estimating material and labor costs, obtaining building permits, hiring and managing subcontractors, and ordering materials and scheduling deliveries are just a few of the skills needed.
6. Deciding to renovate when new construction would be more cost effective. Yes, building new is costly, no doubt about it. However, what many do not understand about renovations is this; the cliché Money Pit is associated with renovations for a very good reason.
7. Not leaving $$ in a contingency fund for overages. They will occur. Think of this as your insurance against other, unforeseen building costs from the builder, or as you make additions or modifications to the proposed scope of work. Most clients will use a rate of around 5-10% of the total budget for contingencies. Unpredictable costs are part of the construction process. However, the more you plan (see #1), the less you may need to tap in to this fund!