So, your dream home has moved one step further forward. You have been able to secure the services of an architect or designer to get your ideas down on paper into a workable plan. You’ve just heard that your plans have received planning approval, to your enormous pleasure. Now your biggest challenge lies before you, how to work with your chosen builder.
Handling a homebuilder can be a daunting task, even if you have had experience of this before. Once you start to talk about costs and timelines, building your dream home can quickly seem such a frustrating process. But, with a little forethought and planning, the process can be made much more manageable. The key things to get right are to work with a trustworthy homebuilder and having a clear plan of action, you’ll be more confident that your dream home will be realised.
Here are five tips on how best to work with your homebuilder:
Tip 1. Set a firm budget
A key part of your initial research will be setting out your project costs. When you negotiate prices with your builder, you should be equipped with the knowledge of how much your project might cost. From this, you can work out how much you’re willing to spend.
On costings, set yourself a starting number, something you can come into the negotiations with, so you can establish the range you’re working in. That starting number should be lower than your ideal price, giving you the room to go up to it if need be.
You should also decide on an upper price limit, a number that you absolutely cannot pass. The range between those numbers will give you some room to work as you discuss the project. Coming to the table with this range lets you and your builder establish an agreement that works for both of you while also keeping costs down.
The best case scenario is that you get everything you want for much cheaper than you anticipated. But do listen to the builder, their experience is part of the value you will be buying. If they can suggest various options which are justified based on your specification and any feedback from the planning process, don’t necessarily be swayed by the cheapest option, after all you are looking for value for money as well and this is a home you plan to spend a good number of years in, so well worth considering additional spend if you will get a good return over time.
Tip 2. Understand what is included (and what isn’t!)
It is critical to ensure that both you and the builder are clear on what is included in the agreement before you sign. When discussing costs with your builder, a good plan is to start at the low price point, then work within your budget to secure what upgrades you can as you address the specifics of the build. That way you will not only budget for exactly what you’re specifying in the agreement but make it clear to both parties. Before you then both decide on something, you need to establish if that element is within the overall agreement and if not provide for it (or cut it out!).
When you’re working within a budget, you’ll need to put in the extra effort to make sure you can accommodate everything you are looking for. If for example you change the specification of a kitchen appliance to a more expensive one, what impact does this now have, for instance on the desired lighting fixtures in the house? Have you looked at all the options? A good, trusted builder will have their own supplier network and can achieve good prices to help you get the best deals on materials, whilst helping you stick to your budget.
Tip 3. Decide how to deal with changes
It is likely that plans will change during the course of the build project. It may only be a slight alteration, or it may be some inspired thought you have in the middle of the night that simply has to be incorporated in the finished result. So, before you conclude your inaugural discussions with your builder, it is vital that you agree on how any changes from the plan will be accommodated.
This is something that can very easily be forgotten in the excitement of concluding your negotiations with your builder, but it is by far one of the most important things to sort out ahead of time.
Much as we would like them to, build projects rarely ever work out perfectly though, and you and your builder need to agree what the protocol is for any adjustments that need to be made along the way.
Without this provision discussed and agreed in the initial planning, subsequent change requests can provide major hurdles for both parties. Your builder needs to know as much as possible about the project at the beginning in order to be able to budget and plan the project. Any significant changes that affect these plans can mean huge delays and extra costs for you. Coming to an agreement ahead of time will ensure a smooth process, saving everyone a massive headache and possible heartache.
Tip 4. Communicate regularly
It’s imperative that you keep an open dialogue with your builder throughout the process. Good communication and transparency is the cornerstone of any collaborative effort.
For your part, this means that you are clear with what it is you want. Good practice is to write down exactly what you want to see and/or check, use phones to message each other and send images and to sit down and have regular review meetings. Your builder needs all the help they can to fully understand what you want the finished project to look like. Show and tell them what you want, then let them get to work.
While communication is important, once you’ve communicated your ideas you need to let your builder get on with the actual work. Give them space and time, and you’ll bound to be pleased with the results.
Tip 5. Be consistent with your builder
If you are taking this project on with a spouse or partner and you want to communicate clearly with your builder, you’ll need to first communicate clearly with each other.
Decide between the two of you what you want to communicate with your builder. It is crucial that you are on the same page, asking for the same things and not giving mixed signals. Set which of you will be the primary contact for your builder. Don’t make any decisions without consulting each other, as that will only lead to confusion down the road.
If you make sure you’re equipped with everything you need to know before beginning negotiations, you’ll have a firmer idea of what you want and what you want to discuss. This should ensure that your meetings with your builder are more effective and productive.
How FABRICO can help
FABRICO’s one-stop-shop approach to helping our customers achieve the home of their dreams includes a robust project management element to assist with good communication and ensure that projects run to time and to budget.
We hope you enjoy the experience and the end result meets your expectations. And do be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions, that’s all part of the home building experience!
We are always pleased to discuss your plans and give you the benefit of our time and expertise. Feel free to contact us either through our website (click here to contact us) or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.