What You Need to Know Before Building Your House

May 31, 2018

What You Need to Know Before Building Your House

So you have your homesite and you finally purchased the perfect Perch Plans house plan for your dream home. You’re ready to start construction, right? While we understand the eagerness to dive right in, there are a few considerations that need to come first. Conducting a property analysis, selecting the right builder, and assembling the right team are just a few of the important steps to take before you begin building your home.

Your Plan Set

After you purchase your Perch Plans home design, the comprehensive drawing set you will receive contains most of what your contractor will need to build your home, including: floor plans, a roof plan, reflected ceiling plans, exterior elevations, interior elevations, details, and mechanical/electrical/plumbing plans. You’ll also receive written specifications for construction and a manual J to be used by your A/C sub-contractor for equipment sizing.

We put a considerable amount of time into each of these drawings to minimize any questions your contractor or sub-contractors may have during the construction process. Every one of our designs provides a level of detail far beyond any other plans you'll find available for purchase online.

Select Your Builder

You know how in the old-school Star Wars movies, Yoda trains Luke Skywalker and guides him in the ways of the force? Well that’s your builder, but hopefully less old and green. Choosing the right builder or contractor is one of the absolute most important things to ensuring a successful build with minimal hiccups.

Your builder will be the main overseer of the project, and will help you navigate all the steps, decisions and jargon involved in the home building process. It’s crucial to take your time when making this selection, and do your research! Meet with several builders in the area, and ask for samples of completed work and past clients for references.

Good communication is huge, so find someone you click with, and who understands the vision for your home. You are about to invest a lot of time, money and emotional attachment into this project, so you need someone you can trust to lead it.

Builder Fees

Speaking of money, let’s talk builder fees for a second. When you meet with a builder or contractor they will present you with a bid for their fees and the proposed cost of construction of your home. Things can always be adjusted (maybe you don’t really need that in-home spa room), but you want an accurate representation of what your home is really going to cost.

Your builder’s proposal should be based off of actual cost estimates from their sub-contractors and materials suppliers. This will help reduce any unexpected expenses or unwelcome surprises in the construction budget.

Contractors can structure their contracts several different ways, but the two most common are fixed fee and cost plus. In a fixed fee contract, you and the builder will agree to a fixed cost of construction based on the set of house plans. Any changes to the scope of construction after signing the contract will be considered additional cost to you in the form of a change order.

A cost plus contract is based on the estimated total construction cost, and will be adjusted at the end of construction once the actual total cost is known. Your contractor should keep you updated along the way as actual costs vary from estimates, so you aren’t caught off guard with the end result.

The best option for you is determined by the level of customization you need. If you plan to make decisions during the process and need some flexibility, go with the cost plus. If it’s a straightforward build, fixed fee may be right for you.

Build Your Team

Your contractor or builder is definitely your go-to on the project, but he can’t be everything. You’ll want to start assembling a team of professionals to help guide you on all aspects of your build. Some others to consider: structural engineer, landscape architect, interior designer, and audio visual consultant.

The structural engineer will design the framing and foundation of your home based on the environmental conditions of your area. Depending on the city you live in, hiring a structural engineer may or may not be required to receive a construction permit. If not, a skilled contractor may do the structural design themselves.

An interior designer will pick paint colors, flooring, tile and other finishes, as well as lighting, plumbing fixtures, and furnishing. However, the value of an interior designer goes far beyond just choosing decor finishes and fixtures. An interior designer can help you line up your vision with your budget (because let’s be real, we all want just a little bit more than we can get), and find good deals to help save you money.

A landscape architect can help with site design, grading, and selection of foliage, to really give your home major curb appeal and highlight the exterior. You may also want to hire an audio visual consultant to lay out speakers, organize media equipment, and coordinate home automation.

Bottom line is, all of these professionals will add cost to your overall project, but you have to weigh the expenses verses the value you’re getting. Think of the time and stress saved, as well as the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is in good and experienced hands.

Not sure where to start? Ask your builder if there’s anyone they have worked with in the past they would recommend, or maybe someone in your social circle has built a house in the last few years. And as always, do your research.

Property Analysis

Prior to construction, a proper analysis of your property is necessary. A soils analysis will help your structural engineer determine the best foundation option for the land you will build on, and may also be required for permitting.

A land survey may also be mandatory, depending on where you live, but regardless, it’s always a good idea. A land surveyor can be employed, or a skilled contractor may be able to do the work. The land survey can help you decide where to place the house on the site, as well as identify any unknown easements or setbacks.

Start Early and Stay Ahead

I’m no stranger to procrastination, but when your house is underway there’s no time to wait. You may think you have plenty of time to select a shower tile for your guest bathroom, but those deadlines have a habit of creeping up faster than expected when you’ve got 1000 other selections and tasks floating around. It’s best to start early, stay ahead and be prepared to be decisive.

Managing Expectations

It’s important to understand the full extent of the undertaking you are committing to, so you can be as ready and adept as possible for the work ahead. Having the right expectations will save you a lot of stress, and enable you to enjoy the journey of watching your home come to life.

We certainly aren't trying to scare you off, but building a new home will take it's toll on your sleep and your free time, and almost always ends up costing at least a little more than anticipated.

All of these conditions are a great recipe for arguments, so be intentional about setting aside time for your spouse, and taking nights off where you don't talk about the house! Knowing what you're getting into before it starts can make all the difference in how you both cope with issues when they come up.

The best part is, Perch Plans makes this easier! With detailed, comprehensive drawings and personalized floor plan tailoring, our designs allow you to have the house you want, without the added cost, stress and time of hiring a custom architect. We even include extra information for your builder, like specifications for siding, roof, doors and more!

At Perch, we recognize that the home building process is for most people an unfamiliar, once-in-a-lifetime experience. While it can be daunting, being prepared with the proper information and the right team can make this complex process enjoyable and exciting.

Have you already been through the new build process? Comment below and let us know what tips or steps you would add to this list!

Struggling to find the right house plan for your family? Here’s our guide for finding the right online floor plan for you. And check out our Perch Plans! Intentional, designer house plans that can be fully tailored to fit the needs of your family:



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