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Building Your New Home

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Keep Records

  • Things not clearly and specifically noted, written, described, or shown will be interpreted, by both sides; there must be a meeting of minds where interpretations are fully understood and resolved. When this does not happen, expect dispute, confrontation, pique, anger, frustration, and perhaps even litigation.

  • Be redundant; leave nothing to chance. Follow up verbal discussions and instructions with written verification. Keep records, receipts, record of phone call, all correspondence, samples you approve, sales slips, model/type/style numbers, and the like.

  • Don't allow yourself to be reduced to buying any aspect of "a pig in a poke."

  • The more time and effort spent up-front in programming, planning, designing, and understanding, as well as in establishing specifics of the project, the better the chance for a smoother construction period and a satisfactory result.

Be Businesslike

  • Be pragmatic, and absolutely businesslike in all of your dealings with the builders. They are working FOR you; you are not seeking them as new friends.

  • If a friend or relative performs part of the work, treat them in exactly the same manner -- have a contract, demand adherence to your schedule, etc.

  • Don't let a gift or a good price disrupt the project overall.

Questions to Ask

  • What is a good design for our needs?

  • What is a building code? Does it effect us? How does it work? What doesn't it do?

  • Who is responsible, overall, for my building project?

  • What are good sizes and proportions for rooms? What style do I want?

  • What am I really getting from the builder?

  • What problems do I have in my current house that I don't want to repeat?

  • Where can I find answers and help? How do I make my desires known?

  • What does that line on the drawing mean?

  • What is a dispute; a lien?

  • What are specifications? Does the builder write and provide them?

  • What if my builder does something in a way I don't like? Is the house going to be complete; will something be left out?

  • When will the house be finished?

  • What is a contract? How do I play a part in it? What does it say?

  • What is "an extra"?

  • Is that a good material, I've never heard of it?

  • Can I change things?

  • Who picks the color of the paint, wall coverings, etc.?

  • Is landscaping included? Sod? Seed? mud and rocks? Slopes? Are landscape features guaranteed?

  • What if I disagree with the builder? Can I stop the work?

  • Am I allowed on the job site? Can I inspect the work as it goes up? Can I bring someone with me?

  • I really want this ________________in the house -- how do I get exactly that?

  • I can buy the light fixtures from my brother-- but who will hang them? What do I do?

  • Should I close on the mortgage and pay the builder in full? I have several items that I don't like - must I still close?

  • Why do we have to make all these trips to pick things out?
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