1. Take your time. The planning process is the most important aspect of reaping satisfaction from the completed project.
  2. Try to keep the planning process mindful of your budget.
  3. A house will probably the most expensive asset that you ever acquire. Make a total square foot goal so that the house you design is not a lot bigger than your budget.
  4. Sticker shock is rampant in the planning process. A few additional notes on the plan, or material and finish selections can make the difference of thousands, even tens of thousands to the final price.
  5. It helps a lot if you select a piece of land first and then select a building to put on it. It is not critical to do it this way but it is very helpful. You may be able to place a deposit on a piece of land pending the selection of a building to construct on it. If you do this make sure you understand what conditions exist to allow the return of your deposit.
  6. There is a mind boggling number of plan books on the magazine shelves of most magazine racks but especially at the specialty magazine stores. Buy at least 6 of them and review them to see what kind of curb side look you prefer. Review the floor plan layouts from all the designs until you see one that meets your lifestyle needs.
  7. Have the plan drawn, pick out a floor plan from a local plan supply house, or select a plan from a plan book. Often clients select a plan from a book and desire a revision of the plan to meet their life style needs. This is perfectly acceptable and your contractor can help you with this.
  8. Try to get as many decisions made before the work starts as you can. This will save you money and will make sure the behind the scenes prep work is done to accommodate your appointments.
  9. Be aware that you will change your mind and add new things to the project as the project proceeds. Keep a contingency budget for this at the outset of the project so that while you use that budget up you can still keep the overall budget in line with the finished product.
  10. Everyone tries to build as much as they can afford. Don’t let yourself drive up construction costs so that you build more than you can afford. This will lead to disappointment and financial hardship in the future.
  11. A fixed price contract to construct your home from a reputable contractor is critical to having a finished product you are satisfied with within a budget framework that you were aware of in the initial stages of the work.