It seems like just yesterday that we shared the photo of us putting the sold sign on the empty piece of land our new home would be built on, but we just discovered that we are only about 3 weeks out from our scheduled house delivery.
Time is flying!
We signed the papers with the builder to build our new home on May 10th, they broke ground at our sight on June 9th, we had our pre-drywall meeting on July 26th, and we’re scheduled for our final walk through the second week of September.
It seems like this entire building a home experience has flown by, but so many things have happened and we’ve learned so much in the four months it has taken them to erect our forever home (because, for real, can never afford to do this again in life).
If you’re thinking about taking the building a home journey with your family, here are some real things to know.
12 Things I Learned Building a Home for the First Time
Your marriage will be tested.
Because, yooooooo, it is stressful! So many things to debate –like which color cabinet pulls will look best, the brushed bronze or the metallic.
And don’t even get me started on the also selling a home while building a home nightmare.
The list price is not the real price.
Not if you want to actually move into it, mostly ready to live in, when it’s done.
Because you pay for everything separately.
Like your cabinets, and your light fixtures, and the cord you plug the phone into if you are old school and want a landline.
But, the cool part is, you get to pick everything –your floors, your cabinets, your lighting, your window placement, your appliances. All of that is up to you.
So it looks just like you want it to.
Although, if you have a budget, you might have to sacrifice a little to stick to it.
For example, we wanted hardwood floors throughout our first floor which means we had to skip out on the fireplace (we barely use the one in our current house anyway).
And, yes, having a budget is super important.
And that is your personal budget, not the budget of the bank. You know what your monthly spending looks like and you know what you truly an and can’t afford.
You need some cash up front.
We’ve never built a home before and, when we bought previously, there was no need to have any money until you went to closing. When building, you have to give the builder some cash to get started on your new house.
There are a ton of deadlines you have to meet.
And a lot of them are nonnegotiable. We wanted to make a change to our home after we thought about some of our design choices and it was too late because we’d already missed the change deadline. Fortunately, we are happy with our original choice because we are totally stuck with it.
You can (and should) be involved in the process.
Our builder and site manager told us from the beginning that we were more than welcome on the property to check up on it or ask questions as much as we wanted. Of course they asked us to take safety precautions, but they were more than willing to escort us into the property during the build process. We’ve seen the home at all stages of the building process to really understand the inner workings of our new home. Throughout the process they’ve been very informative and eager to answer any and all questions –even when they are silly ones from a mom who knows nothing at all about construction.
Especially your kids!
They will love watching their home come to life right before their eyes.
We are fortunate because we already live nearby. If you don’t and you can’t visit often, ask your builder to send you photos. It’s fun to see how quickly things change!
Building in a new neighborhood is a lot different from building in an established one.
When your entire neighborhood is new, there are a lot of things you have to wait for (like electricity and other elements of the infrastructure). Our neighborhood is quite new but there are people who’ve been living in it or about a year now. It means that our build process has been impacted by waiting for the electric company to run power to our home, but and the current residents waited months for Internet service to come (they just got it this month). And yes, I would be DEAD.
Picking your lot is nearly as important as picking your elevation.
You want to know what will be built next to you, how many homes will be built in front of you, obstructing your view, if your large yard will soon been pinned in by another house, and how much space you’ll have around you (even if you don’t own that extra space).
What even is elevation and how to speak home builder.
First, elevation is what builder people call the external home design you will pick. It basically has to do with what your house looks like on the outside –will it have a long porch or a short one? Double steepled roof or single? Brick front or siding? So you and your neighbor’s homes could look different on the outside, but have the same layout on the inside.
At the end of the day, I actually learned a ton of different construction-y words that I hope to never hear again (since this is our forever home).
Building a home has been a wonderful gift that I hope to never want or need again!