If you’ve decided to build a new home- congratulations and welcome to one of the most challenging and exciting projects of your life! The “to do” feels long right now, but in the end, living in your custom designed home will bring you years of joy.
Set The Budget
With any home project, the step is finalizing a budget. How much money you have available for your new home will determine not only the size and layout of the home, but also the finishes, appliances, and character elements. Generally speaking, new construction homes cost more per square foot than a home renovation but that doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s virtually impossible to come up with a neat and tidy square footage price that includes all elements of the price from materials to labor.
Sharpen Your Pencils
Once we have a good handle on the budget, it’s time to start designing. Beyond knowing the number of bedrooms and square footage desired, I like to ask my clients questions about themselves. Often I ask them to think back to their childhood and write a paragraph that describes a meaningful space to them. Whether they write about a bright pink bedroom or a wood-paneled rumpus room, I’m able to glean a lot of information about the kinds of house and spaces they want to build. Personality has a lot to do with design and architecture so it’s important that I know my clients well and understand what makes them tick. Photographs from past or present homes or other sources of inspiration can also be helpful during this process. After the drawings are done, we may want to revisit the budget to make sure that what we’ve dreamed is actually possible. Often it’s helpful to consult with a builder to run construction costs so that there won’t be any surprises after groundbreaking.
Often clients ask how long the new construction process will take. It should take the exactly X amount of time. Not very helpful, I know. I wish I could tell you the timeline, but truly it’s important to both take your time during the drawing process to make sure you’ve examined all the alternatives. Taking too long has its drawbacks, though. As time passes, clients can find themselves second-guessing their decisions and changing their minds. This only leads to confusion and delay.
I do have one word of advice to anyone looking to build a new home- resist the armchair quarterbacking friends and family are wont to do. Certainly I encourage you to seek opinions and ideas from those you trust, but be wary of soliciting too much advice, only to lose track of your own wants and needs.
After all the planning, it’s time to build. Your architect will be available during construction to make sure your designs are implemented correctly. While the process of building a new home requires a lot of organization and planning, it results in a one of a kind piece of architecture. Enjoy the process!
William S. Briggs, Architect, PLLC