As you begin to plan your dream home, there are several mistakes you can make that may either cost more money than you budgeted for or turn the house into an uninhabitable (not suitable for living in) structure. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when they “build their dream home” — and how you can avoid them.
1. Not Hiring a Professional to Design the House
Although you may have plenty of experience with simple projects in your home, building an entire house is much more complex than building a deck or remodeling the bathroom. Hired help will not only make sure that your house is built safely, but it will also ensure that everything meets local codes and ordinances.
A good design specialist will tell you what’s possible in terms of layout and function. Still, they will also provide insight into how to save money on materials while staying true to the structure’s integrity.
2. Not Getting the Right Permits
It’s astonishing how many people build homes without getting all of their permits in order. Having the proper licenses not only ensures that your house is safe but also makes it easier to sell later on.
Take an inventory of what you plan to include in your home, determine which types of permits you need, and don’t be afraid to ask for samples of other permits the architect or builder has filed. Some communities even require builders to put their project out to bid, so make sure it’s in your budget.
3. Not Building with Energy Efficient Materials
Long gone are the days of drafty homes with poor insulation; today, there are dozens of energy-efficient materials — such as spray foam insulation — available to homeowners looking to reduce their monthly utility bills.
This also reduces our homes’ impact on the environment by lowering emissions and pollution, making “building your dream home” a better option for you and the planet. In addition to insulation, it’s important to make sure any windows or doors are energy efficient, which can add even more savings on top of lower monthly bills.
4. Not Considering Future Expansions or Upgrades
Most people who begin building their dream homes have an idea in mind about what they want the house to look like when complete. However, things change, and if you don’t allow for future expansion — such as adding a sunroom off the back of your house — you’ll likely have to start from scratch when ready to expand.
By hiring professional help with designing your home from the beginning, they can help you plan for the future and map out how your house will look in five or ten years.
5. Not Consulting a Professional Structural Engineer
On top of hiring an architect and a structural engineer, there’s another professional to consider during the planning process: a structural engineer. A structural engineer can analyze your property and provide insight on what kind of foundation you’ll need based on the location and soil conditions.
They can also add beams or other support structures to improve load-bearing capacity, such as adding a second floor to an existing structure like a garage.
6. Making Material Choices Without Proper Knowledge
Just because it looks nice in some pictures doesn’t mean that material is suitable for your home; in fact, it may be the opposite. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks when used in a particular context. Wood beams are great for exposed floor joists but shouldn’t be used to support weighty ceilings or staircases because they can sag over time.
Concrete is solid but susceptible to cracking if not reinforced adequately with mesh during construction. To have a solid concrete foundation, you must hire the right professionals. Before making any decisions on what materials should be used in your dream home, consult an architect or structural engineer to ensure that you make the right choice for your needs.
7. Forgetting About Local Regulations
When you hire professional help, part of their job is to ensure that everything meets local codes and ordinances (such as zoning regulations). This ensures that your house will fit in with the surrounding neighborhood and won’t negatively impact your property value.
Building inspectors will also check for compliance with local codes, so it’s essential to stay on top of getting all permits and submitting blueprints timely so you don’t run into any problems later down the road.
Building a dream home is a monumental task that requires careful planning and research before you even put spade to dirt. Fortunately, by doing your homework up front, you’ll reduce the risk of making costly mistakes that could end up costing you far more than how much you saved by cutting corners.